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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR weekly report: North American roads remain on traffic roll


U.S. railroads have maintained their traffic momentum into November. During the week ending Nov. 6, they originated 288,056 carloads, up 4.9 percent, and 231,078 intermodal loads, up 11.7 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Thirteen of 19 carload commodity groups registered gains, including a 45.8 percent jump in metallic ore traffic; 31.1 percent rise in crushed stone, sand and gravel loads; 26 percent increase in farm product moves; and 25.9 percent uptick in grain loads.

Nonetheless, carload trends the past two weeks have been modestly below average seasonal trends relative to third-quarter levels, said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“However, recent railroad commentary remains positive on carriers' ability to grow overall 2011 volumes in excess of GDP growth,” they said.

For the week ending Nov. 6, Canadian railroads reported 78,493 carloads, up 9.3 percent, and 48,242 containers and trailers, up 12.4 percent year over year. Mexican railroads boosted weekly carloads 9.6 percent to 12,809 units and increased intermodal volume 0.8 percent to 6,673 units.

Through 2010’s first 44 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 16.4 million carloads, up 9.6 percent, and 12 million containers and trailers, up 15 percent year over year.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Nov. 6 and through 44 weeks, follow this link.

Meanwhile, RailAmerica Inc. on Wednesday reported October carloads totaling 72,826, up 3.8 percent compared with October 2009 volume.

The holding company — which owns and operates 40 U.S. and Canadian regionals and short lines — registered gains in six of 12 commodity groups, including significant year-over-year increases in shipments of metallic ores and metals, chemicals and non-metallic minerals and products.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 11/12/2010