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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR weekly report: U.S., Mexican roads tally more traffic gains


The gains weren’t as high as some recent weeks, but U.S. railroads still notched more traffic in 2011’s eighth week. During the week ending Feb. 26, their carloads rose 2.4 percent to 296,252 units and intermodal volume climbed 7.2 percent to 220,589 units compared with traffic from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Fourteen of 20 carload commodity groups posted gains, including coal, which registered a 2 percent increase. However, Canadian railroads continue to lag last year’s coal volume and “remain a drag on North American year-over-year growth,” said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in their weekly “Rail Flash” report.

“Looking ahead, the near-term coal outlook remains positive given robust prospects for exports, U.S. utility coal stockpiles nearing normalized levels, the increase in industrial activity and potential for increased weather-related electrical demand,” they said.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported week No. 8 carload volume totaling 71,262 units, down 0.1 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 46,661 units, up 7.7 percent year over year. Mexican railroads reported 14,828 carloads, up 5.6 percent, and 7,773 containers and trailers, up 13.1 percent.

Through 2011’s first eight weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated about 3 million carloads, up 4.7 percent, and about 2.2 million containers and trailers, up 8.3 percent year over year.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Feb. 26 and through eight weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/4/2011