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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR report: U.S. rail traffic still trending up in June


U.S. railroads’ traffic gains have trickled into June. During the week ending June 4, they originated 273,584 carloads, up 1.1 percent, and 205,565 intermodal loads, up 7.2 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Fifteen of 20 carload commodity groups registered gains, including agricultural products, which posted a 5.1 percent increase. However, the nation’s second-half crop outlook is tempered because the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently reduced its fall corn production projection by 2 percent, according to Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.’s latest “Rail Flash” report.

“Given the recent drawdown of stored grains … supply reductions could slow growth expectations,” Baird analysts said in the report. “Current expectations are for a 3 percent year-over-year increase in key crops (corn, wheat, soybeans) this fall, down from a prior 5 percent year-over-year growth expectation in May’s [USDA] report.”

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 74,748 units, up 5.2 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 47,923 containers and trailers, down 2.8 percent year over year. Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads declined 8.4 percent to 13,761 units but intermodal volume climbed 20.8 percent to 8,257 units.

Through 2011’s first 22 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 8.3 million carloads, up 2.9 percent, and 6.1 million containers and trailers, up 7.6 percent compared with volumes from the same 2010 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending June 4 and through 22 weeks, follow this link.

The AAR also announced that yesterday, U.S. freight railroads participated in the third annual International Level Crossing Awareness Day. The railroads hosted various events ranging from Officer on a Train programs to public and private crossing sign inspection trips to grade crossing closure meetings.

The crossing awareness day is jointly sponsored by the International Union of Railways, European Level Crossing Forum, Community of European Railway Companies, European Rail Infrastructure Managers, European Transport Safety Council and Operation Lifesaver Inc. Yesterday, grade crossing safety events occurred in 40 countries worldwide.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/10/2011