Media Kit » Try RailPrime™ Today! »
Progressive Railroading
Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

View Current Digital Issue »


Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends


Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Weak ag, coal and scrap steel volumes held down U.S. carloads in 41st week


For the week ending Oct. 13, 2012, U.S. railroads reported 285,089 carloads, down 6.1 percent, and 250,826 containers and trailers, up 2.6 percent compared with volumes from the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Although farm products excluding grain traffic soared 55.1 percent, petroleum product loads leaped 52.6 percent, and lumber and wood products volume climbed 16.6 percent, metallic ores traffic fell 26.8 percent, iron and steel scrap loads dropped 21 percent and coal volume declined 16.9 percent. In addition, agricultural products carloads decreased 2 percent.

Ag traffic likely will continue to face headwinds since corn import and export forecasts now are less optimistic.

"The World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates of the USDA were released recently, and the U.S. corn production forecast for 2012/13 was again lowered as a result of lower yields," said Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc. analysts in the weekly "Rail Flash" report. "Corn export estimates were also lowered based on increased competition from a stronger corn crop in Brazil and slower sales to date."

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 76,845 carloads for the week ending Oct. 13, down 3.7 percent, and 53,155 containers and trailers, up 10.7 percent year over year. Mexican railroads boosted weekly carloads 5.7 percent to 15,078 units; intermodal volume jumped 37.7 percent to 11,236 units.

Through 2012's first 41 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 15,362,249 carloads, down 1.6 percent, and 12,238,263 containers and trailers, up 4.7 percent compared with the same 2011 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/19/2012