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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Intermodal gain drives rail traffic growth in Week 2


Intermodal gains continued to drive growth in U.S. freight-rail volume during the week ending Jan. 16 compared with the same week last year, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

For the week, total rail traffic increased 5.8% to 528,547 carloads and intermodal units. Although carload traffic declined 2% to 232,550 units, intermodal volume climbed 12.8% to 295,997 containers and trailers.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups the AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted an increase. They included grain, up 8,246 carloads to 27,613; metallic ores and metals, up 1,715 to 23,325; and farm products excluding grain and food, up 1,621 to 16,818.

Commodity groups that posted decreases included coal, down 12,606 units to 57,665; nonmetallic minerals, down 4,411 to 25,582; and miscellaneous, down 402 to 9,755.

For the week, Canadian railroads logged 86,133 carloads, up 23,9%, and 74,486 intermodal units, up 21.3%. Mexican railroads reported 21,749 carloads, up 8.4%, and 15,518 containers and trailers, down 14.4%.

Individual Class Is posted the following carload traffic in week 2 compared with the same week in 2020: BNSF Railway, 88,132 carloads, down from 91,353; Canadian Pacific, 34,637, up from 27,442; CN, 65,721, up from 57,14; CSX, 63,284, down from 67,394; Kansas City Southern, 14,598, up from 14,295; Norfolk Southern Railway, 57,851, down from 58,720; and Union Pacific Railroad, 83,005, down from 85,748. 

For the first two weeks of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020:
• U.S. railroads posted 1,053,800 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.2%;
• Canadian railroads logged 312,017 carloads, containers and trailers, up 11.3%; and
• Mexican railroads reported 69,992 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.7%.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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