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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Week 36: Intermodal volume a drag on U.S. rail traffic total


U.S. railroads logged 468,610 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Sept. 11, a 1.3% decrease compared with the same week last year, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total carloads for the week were 223,710 units, up 4.5%, while intermodal volume was 244,900 containers and trailers, down 6%.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included coal, up 9,749 carloads to 69,927; metallic ores and metals, up 4,227 carloads to 22,395; and nonmetallic minerals, up 3,731 carloads to 30,476.

Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2020 included motor vehicles and parts, down 4,862 carloads to 10,121; grain, down 4,830 carloads to 16,718; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 558 carloads to 9,797.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 73,214 carloads for the week, down 5.8%, and 62,820 intermodal units, down 11.1%. Mexican railroads reported 19,250 carloads, up 13.5%, and 14,032 intermodal units, down 11.2%.

For the first 36 weeks of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020:
• U.S. railroads logged 18,288,563 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 10%;
• Canadian railroads reported 5,327,242 carloads, containers and trailers, an increase of 5.9%; and
• Mexican railroads posted 1,324,930 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, an increase of 6%.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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