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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail traffic tallied gains in November, AAR says


U.S. carloads in November rose 1.3 percent to 1,145,353 units and intermodal loads climbed 7.8 percent to 1,007,549 units compared with November 2012 data, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

The weekly average of 251,887 intermodal loads was the highest for any November in history, AAR officials said in a press release. Eleven of 20 commodity categories registered gains in November, led by grain (20.6 percent), petroleum and petroleum products (20 percent), and motor vehicle and parts (10.8 percent), while metallic ores volume fell 10.1 percent and coal traffic dipped 4.3 percent. Excluding coal, U.S. carloads increased 5.3 percent.

"Carload traffic continues to be consistent with an economy that's growing at a moderate pace," said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray. "Meanwhile, rail intermodal volume was extremely strong in November, demonstrating the tremendous value that intermodal has become for rail customers."

For the week ending Nov. 30 — which included Thanksgiving versus a non-holiday week in 2012 — U.S. carloads dropped 16.3 percent to 255,628 units and intermodal volume fell 13.9 percent to 207,888 units. Canadian railroads reported a 0.9 percent gain in weekly carloads to 79,716 units and an 11.8 percent rise in intermodal volume to 55,627 units, while Mexican railroads reported a 4 percent increase in carloads to 15,718 units and a 6.6 percent drop in intermodal volume to 10,012 units.

Through 2013's first 48 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 18,061,339 carloads, up 0.4 percent, and 14,949,592 containers and trailers, up 4.2 percent year over year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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