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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. carload volume tumbled, intermodal picked up in Week 12


U.S. railroads' carload traffic tumbled 10.9 percent to 236,817 units for the week ending March 23, but intermodal volume picked up 2.1 percent to 266,200 containers and trailers compared with the same week in 2018, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total U.S. rail volume for the week dropped 4.5 percent to 503,017 carloads and intermodal units compared with last year's levels.

Two of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR follows on a weekly basis posted increases for the week. They were petroleum and petroleum products, up 2,233 carloads to 12,132; and motor vehicles and parts, up 422 carloads to 17,102.

Commodity groups that logged decreases included coal, down 22,096 carloads, to 65,317; chemicals, down 3,110 carloads, to 30,682; and metallic ores and metals, down 2,327 carloads, to 19,978.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads posted 82,708 carloads for the week, essentially unchanged from 2018, and 71,236 intermodal units, up 0.5 percent compared with the same week in 2018. Mexican railroads logged 20,785 carloads for the week, down 1.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 14,986 intermodal units, down 7.2 percent.

For the first 12 weeks of 2019 versus the same period in 2018:
• U.S. railroads reported 6,162,108 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.5 percent;
• Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,731,946 carloads, containers and trailers, up 1.2 percent; and
• Mexican railroads reported 428,928 carloads and containers and trailers, down 7 percent.