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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: Another so-so traffic week in the books for U.S. roads


U.S. railroads logged more mixed traffic results in April's second week, which ended April 13. They originated 275,675 carloads, down 0.6 percent, and 241,987 intermodal units, up 3.3 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Total U.S. traffic increased 1.2 percent to 517,662 carloads. Only four of 10 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by petroleum and petroleum products, 51.2 percent; and motor vehicles and parts, 10.9 percent. Metallic ores and grain traffic tumbled 13.8 percent and 12.1 percent, respectively.

U.S. railroads' coal volume was flat during the week. The U.S. Energy Information Administration’s recently published "Short-Term Energy Outlook" estimates that first-quarter coal production declined 9 percent, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly "Rail Flash" report.

"The declines were led by decreased western region production (minus 12 percent), followed by Appalachian (minus 6 percent) and interior (minus 2 percent) production," they said.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 82,077, up 1.2 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 53,818 units, up 1.9 percent year over year. Mexican railroads' weekly carloads climbed 15 percent to 15,455 units and their intermodal volume ratcheted up 1.8 percent to 9,814 units.

Through 2013's first 15 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 5,521,582 carloads, down 0.9 percent, and 4,462,166 containers and trailers, up 4.7 percent compared with the same 2012 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/19/2013