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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail traffic returned to mixed-results mode last week, AAR says


For the week ending June 8, U.S. railroads handled 278,249 carloads, down 2.8 percent, and 252,641 intermodal loads, up 2.5 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Total U.S. traffic dipped 0.3 percent to 530,890 units.

Five of 10 carload commodity groups posted gains, led by petroleum and petroleum products at 27.8 percent. Grain volume tumbled 22.5 percent and coal loads declined 8 percent.

But coal traffic so far has been flat in the second quarter and the Energy Information Administration recently noted that utilities' coal inventories have fallen 6 percent since the beginning of the year and are at their lowest level since December 2011, Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts said in their latest "Rail Flash " report.

"At recent investor conferences, Union Pacific noted its customer inventories were two days below average while CSX said inventories at northeastern utilities had normalized, while stockpiles in the Southeast still remained above average," they said.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly carloads totaling 77,667, down 4.9 percent, and intermodal volume totaling 53,745 units, down 3.3 percent year over year. Mexican railroads' weekly carloads climbed 12.1 percent to 16,783 units and their intermodal volume rose 1.1 percent to 10,068 units.

Through 2013's first 23 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 8,512,109 carloads, down 0.5 percent, and 6,927,478 containers and trailers, up 4.1 percent compared with the same 2012 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/14/2013