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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Intermodal volumes continue to boost U.S. rail traffic


U.S. railroads moved 559,989 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Oct. 21, a 3 percent increase over the same week a year ago, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total carloads for the week ticked up 0.2 percent to 268,943 units, while intermodal volume surged 5.6 percent to 291,046 containers and trailers compared with year-ago traffic results.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2016. They included: nonmetallic minerals, up 3,839 carloads to 41,227; metallic ores and metals, up 2,940 carloads to 22,059; and chemicals, up 2,097 carloads to 30,818.

Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week a year ago included coal, down 3,814 carloads to 86,311; grain, down 2,422 carloads to 24,018; and motor vehicles and parts down 1,582 carloads, to 16,920.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 82,913 carloads for the week, up 5.9 percent, and 70,492 intermodal units, up 15.4 percent compared with the same week in 2016. Mexican railroads logged 16,239 carloads for the week, up 8.7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 12,987 intermodal units, up 13.6 percent.

For the first 42 weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads posted total combined traffic of 22,202,291 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.7 percent; Canadian railroads logged cumulative rail traffic volume of 6,099,307 carloads, containers and trailers, up 11.2 percent; and Mexican railroads reported 1,149,131 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 0.9 percent from the same point last year.