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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Rail traffic slide continues in North America


North American railroad traffic continued its slump during the week ending Aug. 27, although Canadian railroads posted a slight uptick in intermodal volume, according to the Association of American Railroads.

U.S. railroads logged 269,645 carloads, down 7.3 percent compared with the same week in 2015. Intermodal volume outpaced carload traffic, but still was down 5.1 percent to 270,012 containers and trailers.

Four of the 10 commodity groups tracked by AAR reflected increases during the week. They included grain, up 18.8 percent to 21,727 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, up 6 percent to 19,392 carloads; and farm products excluding grain, and food, up 2.1 percent to 16,465 carloads.

U.S. commodities posting decreases for the week compared with a year ago included petroleum and petroleum products, down 27.5 percent to 10,076 carloads; coal, down 15.9 percent to 91,469 carloads; and metallic ores and metals, down 7.9 percent to 21,493 carloads.

In Canada, railroads reported carload traffic decreased 5.3 percent to 71,515 units. However, intermodal volume rose 0.8 percent to 64,312 intermodal units.

In Mexico, railroads posted a 10.8 percent decrease in carloads for a total 15,884 units during the week compared with last year. Intermodal volume fell 8.4 percent to 11,349 containers and trailers.

For the first 34 weeks of the year, total U.S. total traffic volume fell 7.2 percent to 17,172,424 carloads and intermodal units from the same period a year ago. So far this year, Canadian railroads logged cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,366,568 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.1 percent.

And in Mexico, cumulative volume during the first 34 weeks of 2016 slipped 2.2 percent to 914,428 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers compared with last year's numbers.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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