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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

A first: U.S. intermodal surpassed carload traffic in Week No. 15, AAR says


During the week ending April 18, U.S. railroads' total intermodal traffic exceeded carloads for a one-week period for the first time, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported yesterday.

U.S. carloads for the week totaled 276,416, down 4.9 percent, while intermodal volume totaled 280,016 containers and trailers, up 8.1 percent compared with the same week in 2014. It was the second highest week on record for intermodal units, AAR officials said in a press release.

Total U.S. traffic was 556,432 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.2 percent for the week compared with a year ago.

Six of 10 carload commodity groups posted increases: Motor vehicles and parts, up 7.2 percent to 18,008 carloads; miscellaneous carloads, up 6.3 percent to 8,019 carloads; and chemicals, up 2.9 percent to 31,296 carloads. Commodity group carloads that decreased for the period included grain, down 15.8 percent to 18,166; coal, down 12.6 percent to 99,482; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 1.3 percent to 15,068.

Canadian railroads' carload traffic dipped 0.1 percent to 81,793 for the week, but they logged a 5.6 percent increase in intermodal units to 62,356 compared with the same week a year ago. Mexican railroads reported a major increase in both traffic categories for the week: carloads jumped 11.7 percent to 16,683, and intermodal traffic soared 23.1 percent to 10,947 units.

For the first 15 weeks of the year, U.S. railroads' total combined traffic was 8,048,945 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.1 percent; Canadian railroads' cumulative volume was 2,053,708 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 7.2 percent; and Mexican railroads' cumulative volume was 396,490 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 3 percent year over year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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