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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR traffic report: Week No. 3 good, but not great, for U.S. roads


U.S. railroads registered more traffic gains in 2011’s third week, but they were more of the modest variety, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). During the week ending Jan. 22, they originated 282,837 carloads, up 1.5 percent, and 213,206 intermodal loads, up 6.2 percent compared with traffic from the same week last year.

Container volume rose 6.8 percent and trailer volume increased 2.8 percent, while only 11 of 20 carload commodity groups registered gains. Industrial and automotive traffic only increased 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively, but railroads are preparing for accelerating demand in both sectors, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“Industrial and auto-related volumes remain further below peak volumes than other rail commodities,” they said. “Encouragingly, positive outlook for industrial production and auto production above GDP growth levels support prospects for volume recovery.”

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly volume of 65,842 carloads, down 10.1 percent, and 45,659 containers and trailers, up 3.2 percent year over year. Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads increased 1.7 percent to 14,872 units but intermodal volume fell 2.6 percent to 6,460 units.
Through 2011’s first three weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 363,551 carloads, down 0.8 percent, and 265,325 containers and trailers, up 5.4 percent year over year.

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

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/28/2011