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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Carload volume a drag on total U.S. rail traffic in Week 6


U.S. railroads' total carload traffic fell 3.3 percent to 242,266 units for the week ending Feb. 9 compared with the same week in 2018, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Intermodal volume helped boost total traffic levels for the week, however. Intermodal levels rose 3.4 percent to 277,513 containers and trailers, for a combined traffic total of 519,779 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.1 percent compared with the same week last year.

Three of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR follows on a weekly basis posted increases during the week. They were petroleum and petroleum products, up 2,420 carloads to 12,740; grain, up 1,685 carloads to 20,720; and motor vehicles and parts, up 363 carloads to 17,069.

Commodity groups that posted decreases included coal, down 9,107 carloads to 75,864; farm products excluding grain, and food, down 1,242 carloads to 15,063; and miscellaneous carloads, down 967 carloads to 8,487.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 71,661 carloads for the week, down 3 percent, and 62,207 intermodal units, down 1.9 percent compared with the same week in 2018. Mexican railroads reported  reported 17,842 carloads for the week, down 9.5 percent, and 15,077 intermodal units, down 7.8 percent.

Through the first six weeks of 2019 versus the same period a year ago:
• U.S. railroads' combined traffic volume of 3,074,434 carloads and intermodal units increased 0.9 percent;
• Canadian railroads' cumulative volume of 863,235 carloads, containers and trailers rose 3.8 percent; and
• Mexican railroads' total of 96,597 carloads and intermodal units fell 11.9 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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