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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: U.S. roads' weekly carloads reach 16-month high


During the week ending April 17, U.S. railroads originated 296,599 carloads, up 16.1 percent compared with volume from the same week last year and the highest weekly total since December 2008, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Eighteen of 19 commodity groups registered gains, led by a 177.5 percent jump in metallic ore carloads, 68.8 percent rise in metals traffic, and 49 percent increase in motor vehicles and equipment moves. Grain traffic rose 12.2 percent.

Agricultural product volumes likely will remain strong through most of 2010, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report.

"Positives include the animal feed outlook and ethanol demand,” they said, adding that "recent rail commentary" suggests export grain volumes might moderate because of a favorable South American winter harvest outlook.

Meanwhile, U.S. railroads’ weekly intermodal volume totaled 209,903 containers and trailers, up 14.6 percent year over year.

For the week ending April 17, Canadian railroads reported 74,029 carloads, up 24.3 percent, and 47,550 containers and trailers, up 14.8 percent. Mexican railroads boosted carload volume 27.8 percent to 13,624 units and increased intermodal volume 42.3 percent to 7,140 units.
Through 2010’s first 15, weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 5.5 million carloads, up 7 percent, and 3.8 million intermodal loads, up 9.7 percent year over year.

For more AAR data on traffic for the week ending April 17 and through 15 weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/23/2010