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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Association of American Railroads: Weekly intermodal volume average reached record high in May


In May, U.S. railroads originated 1,392,352 carloads, down 2.8 percent, and 1,178,312 containers and trailers, up 3.5 percent compared with May 2011 volumes, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Last month's weekly intermodal volume average of 235,662 units reached the highest-ever May average while total intermodal volume grew for the 30th-straight month, AAR officials said in a prepared statement.
Thirteen of 20 commodity categories registered carload gains, led by petroleum and petroleum products (49.2 percent), motor vehicles (27.7 percent), lumber and wood products (16.9 percent), crushed stone, sand and gravel (8.2 percent), and primary metal products (4.3 percent). Coal traffic fell 12.1 percent, grain volume declined 11.8 percent and chemical carloads dipped 2.4 percent. Excluding coal and grain, May carloads increased 6.7 percent, according to the AAR.

“The economy continues to perplex, with some indicators seeming to signal a slowdown and some hinting at steady, albeit unspectacular, progress. U.S. rail traffic is in the latter category,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray. 
For the week ending June 2, U.S. railroads originated 265,207 carloads, down 3.1 percent, and 213,911 intermodal loads, up 4.1 percent year over year.
Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 69,408, down 7.5 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 44,633 units, down 6.6 percent. Mexican railroads’ weekly carloads rose 8.8 percent to 15,795 units and intermodal volume climbed 13.7 percent to 10,131 units.
Through 2012’s first 22 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 8,170,610 carloads, down 1.8 percent, and 6,343,053 containers and trailers, up 4 percent compared with the same 2011 period.