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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail traffic rose slightly in Week 32


U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Aug. 14 totaled 504,810 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.9% compared with the same week last year, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

U.S. carloads reached 235,011, up 5.7%, while intermodal volume totaled 269,799 containers and trailers, down 3%.

For some rail traffic categories, percentage changes for the week compared with the same 2020 period are inflated because of the widespread shutdowns — and subsequent large reduction in rail volumes — that impacted many economic sectors last year at this time, AAR officials said in a news release.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by the AAR posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included coal, up 8,196 carloads to 67,054; metallic ores and metals, up 5,676 carloads to 24,678; and nonmetallic minerals, up 2,080 carloads to 32,602.

Commodity groups that posted decreases during the week included grain, down 2,906 carloads to 19,488; motor vehicles and parts, down 1,883 carloads to 13,512; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 526 carloads to 10,314.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 72,109 carloads for the week, down 2.3%, and 75,238 intermodal units, up 7.8%. Mexican railroads reported 19,950 carloads for the week, down 7.7% compared with the same week last year, and 15,012 intermodal units, down 14.5%.

For the first 32 weeks of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020:
• U.S. railroads logged 16,319,848 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 11.6%;
• Canadian railroads posted 4,751,539 carloads, containers and trailers, up 6.9%; and
• Mexican railroads reported 1,177,917 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 6.5%.


Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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