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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail carload volume down slightly in Week 3

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups the AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases in Week 3, according to AAR.
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U.S. railroads hauled 529,030 carloads and intermodal units during the week ending Jan. 23, a 9% increase compared with the same week in 2020, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Carload volume fell just slightly — 0.7% — to 230,979 units, while intermodal volume soared 17.8% to 298,051 units.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups the AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases. They included grain, up 5,481 carloads to 27,295; chemicals, up 846 to 32,140; and forest products, up 603 to 10,192.

Commodity groups that logged decreases included coal, down 4,949 carloads to 63,474; nonmetallic minerals, down 2,672 to 25,233; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 1,139 to 12,522.

Class Is reported the following carload volumes and year-over-year comparisons for the week: BNSF Railway Co., 92,542 carloads, down from 95,324; Canadian Pacific, 35,926, up from 33,685; CN, 60,748, down from 62,167; CSX, 64,125, down from 64,285; Kansas City Southern, 15,172, up from 14,559; Norfolk Southern Railway, 56,706, up from 55,386; and Union Pacific Railroad, 81,477, compared with 82,335.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported increases in both carload and intermodal volumes during the week: Carloads rose 1.6% to 82,307; and container and trailer counts climbed 7.2% to 73,769.

Mexican railroads logged 21,074 carloads, up 7.4%, and 17,282 intermodal units, down 5.9%.

For the first three weeks of 2021 compared with the same 2020 period:
• U.S. railroads logged 1,582,830 carloads, containers and trailers, up 6.5%;
• Canadian railroads posted 468,093 carloads, containers and trailers, up 8.8%; and
• Mexican railroads reported 108,348 carloads, containers and trailers, down 4.8%.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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