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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. railroads' carload volume up, intermodal down in Week 15


This year's dip in U.S. rail traffic continued in Week 15, with railroads posting 528,167 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.2 percent compared with the same week in 2018, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

U.S. railroads did post a 1 percent increase in carload volume for a total 260,800 units during the week ending April 13. However, U.S. intermodal volume fell 3.2 percent to 267,367 containers and trailers during the period versus a year ago.

Three of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases. They were coal, up 6,284 carloads to 82,065; petroleum and petroleum products, up 3,736 carloads to 13,387; and chemicals, up 395 carloads to 32,355.

Commodity groups that logged decreases included nonmetallic minerals, down 3,675 carloads to 34,173; motor vehicles and parts, down 1,120 carloads to 17,704; and grain, down 1,006 carloads to 21,640.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 84,785 carloads for the week, essentially unchanged from 2018, and 74,039 intermodal units, up 10.2 percent. Mexican railroads posted 8,792 carloads, down 10.3 percent, and 14,984 intermodal units, down 15.3 percent.

For the first 15 weeks of 2019 versus the same period a year ago:
• U.S. railroads reported 7,710,425 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.8 percent;
• Canadian railroads reported  2,209,437 carloads, containers and trailers, up 2 percent; and
• Mexican railroads reported 540,984 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 5.4 percent.