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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: Rail traffic report reflects 2020 shutdowns


U.S. railroads logged 513,325 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending March 20, an 11.6% increase compared with the same week in 2020, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Comparisons of the current week with the same week in 2020 are inflated because of the widespread economy-wide shutdowns — and subsequent large reduction in rail volumes — that occurred last year at this time, AAR officials said in a press release.

Carloads for the week totaled 230,605, up 2.9% year over year, while intermodal volume totaled 282,720 containers and trailers, up 19.8%.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks weekly posted gains, including grain, coal and metallic ores and metals. Commodity groups that logged decreases during the week included chemicals, nonmetallic minerals, and motor vehicles and parts.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads posted 81,088 carloads during the week, down 3.6%, and 73,409 intermodal units, up 20.4%. Mexican railroads logged 20,480 carloads, down 5.6%, and 15,256 intermodal units, down 2.9%.

For the first 11 weeks of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020:
• U.S. railroads reported combined volume of 5,493,350 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.5%;
• Canadian railroads reported 1,655,256 carloads, containers and trailers, up 5.7% and
• Mexican railroads reported 404,963 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.7%.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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