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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S. roads registered carload gains in week No. 2


The second week in 2012 was much better for U.S. railroads than the first. During the week ending Jan. 14, they originated 298,560 carloads, up 5.5 percent, and 229,091 intermodal loads, up 7.4 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Although grain volume fell 10.1 percent, 17 of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by crushed stone, sand and gravel (33.2 percent), motor vehicles and equipment (31.5 percent) and petroleum products (28.9 percent). Coal volume increased 2.8 percent.

However, near-term coal demand expectations are tempered by low natural gas prices, mild winter weather, healthy stockpile levels and uncertain export coal demand, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report. U.S. domestic coal production is forecasted to decline 2 percent in 2012, with production “flattish” in the West and down about 5 percent in the East (Appalachia/interior), they said.
Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported week No. 2 carloads totaling 77,095, up 9.8 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 50,004 containers and trailers, up 15.5 percent year over year. During the week ending Jan. 14, Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads declined 21.3 percent to 11,893 units, but their intermodal volume climbed 20.5 percent to 8,545 units.
Through 2012’s first two weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 741,662 carloads, up 0.5 percent, and 528,899 containers and trailers, up 0.1 percent compared with the same 2011 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Jan. 14 and through two weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/20/2012