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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. intermodal-rail volume spikes in Week 45


The U.S. intermodal-rail traffic growth trend continued during the week ending Nov. 7, with trailer and container volume increasing 10.3% to 293,746 units compared with the same week in 2019, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

The carload volume trend continued its downward slide, however. U.S. railroads logged 228,282 carloads during the week, down 8.4%. Carload and intermodal volumes combined, U.S. rail traffic climbed 1.3% to 522,028 units, AAR officials said in a press release.

Three of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR follows every week posted increases. They were grain, up 5,577 carloads to 27,426; chemicals, up 1,813 to 32,636; and farm products excluding grain, and food, up 608 to 16,419.

Commodity groups that logged decreases included coal, down 16,458 carloads to 58,987; metallic ores and metals, down 4,852 to 17,522; and nonmetallic minerals, down 2,414 to 30,338.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 78,242 carloads for the week, down 6.1%; and 77,926 intermodal units, up 14.1%. Mexican railroads logged 19,468 carloads, down 5.7%, and 13,892 intermodal units, down 24%.

Individual Class Is reported the following carload traffic for the week versus the same period a year ago: BNSF Railway Co., 88,281 carloads, down from 98,473; Canadian Pacific, 33,951 carloads, down from 35,299; CN, 58,142, down from 63,969; CSX, 66,654, down from 68,837; Kansas City Southern, 13,212, down from 15,411; Norfolk Southern Railway, 53,634, down from 62,327; and Union Pacific Railroad, 81,777, down from 87,237.

For the first 45 weeks of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019:
• U.S. railroads posted 21,206,837 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.1%;
• Canadian railroads reported 6,423,284 carloads and intermodal units, down 6%; and
• Mexican railroads logged 1,557,713 carloads and intermodal units, down 10.2%. 

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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