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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

North American freight-rail traffic up 9% so far in 2021


U.S. railroads hauled 494,415 carloads and intermodal units during the week ending Sept. 4, down 3% compared with the same week last year, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total carloads for the week ending September 4 were 228,203 carloads, up 2.6% compared with the same week in 2020, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 266,212 containers and trailers, down 7.3%.

Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase during the week. They included coal, up 5,824 carloads to 66,950; metallic ores and metals, up 5,151 carloads to 22,768; and nonmetallic minerals, up 2,680 carloads to 32,281.

Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2020 were grain, down 6,211 carloads to 16,711; motor vehicles and parts, down 3,866 carloads to 12,421; and farm products excluding grain, and food, down 5 carloads to 15,342.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads logged 73,855 carloads for the week, down 6.3%, and 71,171 intermodal units, down 3.1%. Mexican railroads posted 17,989 carloads for the week, up 2.7% compared with the same week last year, and 13,361 intermodal units, down 13.2%.

For the first 35 weeks of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020:
• U.S. railroads reported 17,819,953 carloads and intermodal units, up 10.3%;
• Canadian railroads reported 5,191,208 carloads, containers and trailers, up 6.3%;
• Mexican railroads reported 1,291,648 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 6.1%; and
• North American rail volume was 24,302,809 carloads and intermodal units, up 9.2%.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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