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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail traffic increases in week 51


U.S. rail traffic rose 27 percent to 496,633 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Dec. 24 compared with the same week a year ago, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

U.S. railroads reported 243,917 carloads for the week, a 17.9 percent increase compared with the same week in 2015. U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 252,716 containers and trailers, up 37.2 percent compared to 2015.

AAR noted that Christmas Day is not included in the latest traffic week this year, but is included in the comparable week in 2015. As a result, traffic volume is "somewhat overstated" for the week compared to 2015.

Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases. They included: miscellaneous carloads, up 30.6 percent to 8,186 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, up 24.6 percent to 16,491 carloads; and grain, up 24 percent to 22,582 carloads.

Petroleum and petroleum products during week 51 declined 5.4 percent to 9,972 carloads.

Canadian railroads logged 76,744 carloads for the week, up 25 percent, and 55,859 intermodal units, up 31.1 percent compared with the same week in 2015. Mexican railroads posted 14,861 carloads for the week, up 13.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 9,801 intermodal units, up 21.8 percent.

For the first 51 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads' total combined traffic fell 5.1 percent to 26,161,353 carloads and intermodal units compared with traffic during the same period a year ago. Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 6,730,770 carloads, containers and trailers, down 3.3 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 51 weeks of 2016 was 1,369,349 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 1.8 percent from the same point last year.