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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S., Canadian roads continued to boost weekly carloads


U.S. rail traffic remained in the black in June’s first full week. During the week ending June 11, U.S. railroads originated 290,181 carloads, up 0.3 percent, and 237,422 intermodal loads, up 6.4 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Eleven of 20 carload commodity groups registered gains, including metallic ores, up 33.8 percent; lumber and wood products, up 17.8 percent, and pulp, paper and allied products, up 12.2 percent.
Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 77,300 units, up 4.6 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 49,797 units, down 3.3 percent year over year. Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads fell 3.2 percent to 14,785 units, but intermodal volume climbed 28.9 percent to 8,672 units.
Through the year’s first 23 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 8.7 million carloads, up 2.8 percent, and 6.4 million containers and trailers, up 7.5 percent year over year.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending June 11 and through 23 weeks, follow this link.

Earlier this week, RailAmerica Inc. reported that its 43 U.S. and Canadian railroads in May handled 69,776 carloads, down 1.7 percent compared with May 2010 volume. On a same-railroad basis, which excludes traffic from recently acquired railroads, carloads declined 2.5 percent.

Volume rose in only six out of 12 commodity groups. Reduced shipments of petroleum products and coal primarily caused the volume dip, RailAmerica officials said in a prepared statement. Excluding coal shipments, carloads increased 7.1 percent and same-railroad carloads rose 6.1 percent in May.

“Petroleum carloads were down primarily due to lower shipments in the West and Northeast regions, [while] the decline in coal carloads was primarily due to flooding-related service disruptions on the Missouri & Northern Arkansas Railroad, which resumed full operations on May 13, and reduced volume on the Indiana Southern Railroad,” RailAmerica officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/17/2011