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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Intermodal again drives up weekly U.S. rail traffic total


U.S. freight railroads hauled 527,462 carloads and intermodal units during the week ending Nov. 14, up 5.2% compared with volumes moved during the same week in 2019, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

As has been the case for the past several weeks, growth in intermodal volumes drove the overall increase in traffic. U.S. railroads logged 295,316 containers and trailers for the week, up 12.9% from the year-ago level.

Total carloads for the week were 232,146 units, down 3.1%. Six of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases. They included grain, up 6,783 carloads to 29,123; farm products excluding grain, and food, up 1,046 to 16,384; and metallic ores and metals, up 587 to 19,581.

Commodity groups that posted decreases included coal, down 12,148 carloads to 60,414; petroleum and petroleum products, down 3,211 to 10,744; and nonmetallic minerals, down 1,125 to 29,067.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 79,874 carloads for the week, down 3.9%, and 77,390 intermodal units, up 18.9%. Mexican railroads posted 19,145 carloads for the week, down 7%, and 14,329 intermodal units, down 21.4%.

For the first 46 weeks of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019:
• U.S. railroads reported 21,734,299 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.8%;
• Canadian railroads reported 6,580,548 carloads, containers and trailers, down 5.7%; and
• Mexican railroads reported 1,591,187 carloads, containers and trailers, down 10.3%.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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