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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR weekly report: Carloads up in U.S. and Canada, down in Mexico


U.S. railroads continued to increase their traffic last week, but not by as large a year-over-year margin as in weeks past. During the week ending July 17, they originated 282,199 carloads, up 5.5 percent, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Only 11 of 19 carload commodity groups registered gains.

However, U.S. roads fared much better in the intermodal sector, driving up container and trailer loads 20.1 percent to 227,661 units. Container volume jumped 22.1 percent while trailer volume rose 10 percent.

After seasonal momentum improved through the second quarter ahead of the peak shipping season, intermodal volumes into July are tracking slightly ahead of normal seasonality, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly "Rail Flash" report.

"We expect both domestic and international growth to continue given ongoing domestic truckload conversion and economic growth," they said.

Meanwhile, for the week ending July 17, Canadian railroads reported 70,451 carloads up 21.5 percent, and 49,858 intermodal loads, up 24.3 percent. Mexican railroads reported 12,446 carloads, down 1.9 percent, and 5,360 containers and trailers, down 0.3 percent, primarily because of the lingering effects of Hurricane Alex.

Through 2010’s first 28 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads boosted carloads 10.3 percent to 10.3 million units and increased intermodal volume 13.8 percent to 7.3 million units compared with figures from the same 2009 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending July 17 and through 28 weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/23/2010