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AAR: North American carloads climbed in October's first week


October’s first full week was a good one for U.S. railroads. During the week ending Oct. 8, 2011, they originated 302,500 carloads, up 2.1 percent, and 241,999 containers and trailers, up 2.4 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Eleven of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by petroleum products (28.3 percent), non-metallic minerals (19.6 percent), and motor vehicles and equipment (11.1 percent). Coal carloads increased 2 percent, largely because stronger-than-expected summer electricity generation has supported recent restocking, according to Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.’s weekly “Rail Flash” report. However, current Energy Information Administration estimates suggest a 3 percent year-over-year production decline in the second half, tempering coal expectations, the report states.

“Longer-term secular export coal opportunity continues, but near-term trends are clouded by commentary suggesting moderating demand,” Baird analysts said in the report.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 80,308 units, up 6.7 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 51,436 units, down 2 percent year over year. During the week ending Oct. 8, Mexican railroads increased carloads 8.7 percent to 14,934 units and boosted intermodal volume 19.7 percent to 9,853 units.
Through 2011’s first 40 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 15.2 million carloads, up 2.1 percent, and 11.4 million containers and trailers, up 5.2 percent compared with volumes from the same 2010 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Oct. 8 and through 40 weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/14/2011