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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail traffic rose for second-straight week, AAR data shows


U.S. rail traffic now is on a two-week winning streak. On a year-over-year basis, carloads climbed 4.7% to 234,904 and intermodal volume rose 1.2% to 258,419 units during the week ending Sept. 23, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

U.S. traffic for the week totaled 493,323 units — including carloads, containers and trailers — up 2.8%.

Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by the AAR each week posted gains, including motor vehicles and parts (22.3%), metallic ores and metals (16.7%), and chemicals (7.1%). The three decliners were coal (-2.6%), grain (-1.2%) and forest products (-0.9%).

Through 2023’s first 38 weeks, U.S. railroads logged 8,538,842 carloads, up 0.2%, and 9,065,168 intermodal units, down 8.5% year over year. Total combined traffic for the 38-week period was 17,604,010 carloads, containers and trailers, down 4.5% from the same period a year ago.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads for the week ending Sept. 23 reported 96,025 carloads, up 5.3%, and 72,918 intermodal units, down 4.6% compared with the same 2022 period. Their total volume through 38 weeks fell 3.4% to 6,006,685 units.

Mexican railroads reported latest-week totals of 16,033 carloads, down 15.2%, and 11,360 intermodal units, down 3.9% year over year. Through 38 weeks, their total volume rose 2.8% to 1,053,056 units.

Also through 38 weeks, 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads registered 24,663,751 total units, down 3.9% compared with the same 2022 period.