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U.S. rail traffic inched up — 1.9 percent to 562,472 carloads and intermodal units — during the week ending March 21, compared with the same week last year, the Association of American Railroads reported yesterday.As has been the case in recent weeks, total traffic volumes for U.S. railroads got a boost from their intermodal business: Carloads for the week dipped 2.4 percent to 284,7618 compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume shot up 6.7 percent to 277,854 containers and trailers.Three of 10 commodity groups posted increases during the week: Grain was up 21.9 percent to 24,087 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, up 3.1 percent to 18,765 carloads; and nonmetallic minerals, up 1.4 percent to 34,230 carloads. Among commodity groups that saw traffic decline was coal, which fell 6.7 percent to 105,987 carloads. Also during the week, Canadian railroads reported 78,145 carloads, a 0.9 percent increase, and 58,405 intermodal units, up 7.2 percent compared with the 11th week in 2014. Mexican railroads posted 15,579 carloads for the week, down 0.6 percent, and 8,736 intermodal units, down 6 percent.For the first 11 weeks of this year compared with a year ago, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 5,822,400 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.3 percent; Canadian railroads posted cumulative rail traffic volume of 1,481,718 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 8.6 percent; and Mexican railroads logged cumulative volume of 292,185 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 3.2 percent.
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