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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR report: U.S. roads set carload volume record for second-straight week


Last week, U.S. railroads originated 305,000 carloads, up 6.9 percent year over year and a new 2010 record for the second-straight week, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). During the week ending Sept. 4, they also handled 237,006 containers and trailers, up 18 percent compared with volume from the same 2009 period.

U.S. roads registered gains in 13 of 19 carload commodity groups, including agricultural products, which posted an 11 percent volume increase. The outlook for ag products traffic is positive based on expectations for a 2 percent year-over-year increase in key crops, such as corn, wheat and soybeans, a record harvest and anecdotal evidence of constrained storage capacity, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“A recent Russian wheat embargo is also a potential benefit to rail volumes,” Baird analysts said. “Recent rail commentary suggests rail grain-car capacity is being added to handle improved volumes.”

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly volume of 76,823 carloads, up 19.6 percent, and 50,700 intermodal loads, up 13.8 percent year over year. During the week ending Sept. 4, Mexican railroads handled 13,572 carloads, up 24.7 percent, and 7,532 containers and trailers, up 14.1 percent.

Through 2010’s first 35 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 13 million carloads, up 10 percent, and 9.4 million intermodal loads, up 15 percent compared with the same 2009 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Sept. 4 and through 35 weeks, follow this link.