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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

North American rail volume dipped in Week 47


U.S. freight railroads logged 521,927 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Nov. 23, a 10.6 percent increase compared with the same week last year — which included the Thanksgiving holiday — according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total carloads for the week were 251,901 units, up 7.6 percent compared with the same week in 2018, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 270,026 containers and trailers, up 13.5 percent.

Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases during the week. They included nonmetallic minerals, up 7,573 carloads to 33,069; chemicals, up 3,972 carloads to 31,834; and motor vehicles and parts, up 3,625 carloads to 17,757.

The only commodity to post a decrease during the week was coal, down 6,205 carloads to 75,859.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 70,768 carloads for the week, down 16.4 percent, and 65,247 intermodal units, down 5.4 percent. Mexican railroads reported 19,566 carloads for the week, up 3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 16,548 intermodal units, down 4 percent.

For the first 47 weeks of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018:
• U.S. railroads logged 24,349,038 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.2 percent;
• Canadian railroads posted 7,108,842 carloads, containers and trailers, up 0 percent;
• Mexican railroads reported 1,776,149 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.6 percent; and
• North American railroad volume was 33,234,029 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.3 percent.