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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR weekly report: North American railroads end April with a traffic bang


April’s last week was another good one for U.S. railroads. During the week ending May 1, they originated 295,718 carloads, up 16.3 percent, and 213,013 intermodal loads, up 13.2 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Total volume jumped 16.7 percent to an estimated 32.9 billion ton-miles.
Metallic ore carloads ballooned 333.1 percent while metals traffic shot up 109.2 percent and scrap carloads skyrocketed 67 percent. In addition, both domestic and international intermodal volumes continued to increase because of domestic truckload conversions and economic growth, according to Robert W. Baird & Co Inc.’s weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“Tightened intermodal container capacity should support scheduled intermodal rail rate increases,” Baird analysts said in the report. “As demand continues to recover, tightening truckload capacity and truckload rate growth should provide further opportunity for rails to grow pricing and volume.”
Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 75,285 units, up 29.4 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 47,236 units, up 15 percent year over year. Mexican railroads boosted weekly carloads 13.3 percent to 11,730 units and increased intermodal volume 11.7 percent to 5,507 units.
Through 2010’s first 17 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 6.2 million carloads, up 8.2 percent, and 4.3 million containers and trailers, up 10.2 percent compared with volumes from the same 2009 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending May 1 and through 17 weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/7/2010