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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S. roads registered traffic gains in week 28


For the week ending July 12, U.S. railroads logged 290,607 carloads, up 4.8 percent, and 256,256 intermodal units, up 3.2 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Total combined U.S. traffic rose 4 percent to 546,863 units and nine 10 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by motor vehicles and parts at 64.7 percent, petroleum and petroleum products at 16.2 percent, and nonmetallic minerals and products at 14.2 percent. The only commodity group that registered a decrease was coal, at 5.3 percent.

For the week ending July 12, Canadian railroads reported 82,720 carloads, up 10.1 percent, and 59,611 intermodal units, up 9.5 percent year over year. Mexican railroads' weekly carloads climbed 10.7 percent to 17,022 units and their intermodal volume increased 9.6 percent to 11,304 units.

Through 2014's first 28 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 10,638,748 carloads, up 2.8 percent, and 8,969,605 containers and trailers, up 6 percent compared with the same 2013 period.

Meanwhile, a portion of railroads' grain business appears to be strengthening. In its most recent acreage report released July 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service increased its estimated grain sorghum plantings to 7.47 million acres, up 12 percent from March's estimate, in part due to strong demand in the domestic ethanol industry and in China.

"Given the current planted acres and weather conditions, while assuming a normal yield, we should expect to see 400 million bushels harvested, which is 3 percent higher than last year’s harvest total," said Florentino Lopez, the agency's sorghum checkoff executive director, in a press release. "The 2014 acreage estimate is just 7 percent below last year’s total planted acres."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/18/2014