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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Rail traffic growth trend continues in U.S., Canada

U.S. railroads' traffic increased 5.5 percent to 534,922 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending May 20 compared with the same period a year ago, according to Association of American Railroads' (AAR) data.

Total carloads for the week rose 6.4 percent to 260,115 units, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume climbed 4.6 percent to 274,807 containers and trailers compared with the same week in 2016, according to an AAR press release.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the 20th week of 2016. Those included grain, up 24.5 percent to 23,997 carloads; coal, up 18.6 percent to 78,990 carloads; and nonmetallic minerals, up 6.4 percent to 39,693 carloads.

Commodity groups that logged decreases compared with a year ago included petroleum and petroleum products, down 16.8 percent to 9,670 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, down 6.8 percent to 17,782 carloads; and forest products, down 1.9 percent to 10,155 carloads.

Canadian railroads moved 77,163 carloads during the week, an increase of 14.4 percent compared with a year ago. Railroads in Canada also reported intermodal volume for the week rose 10.5 percent to 68,175 units, compared with the 2016 period.

In Mexico, railroads logged 16,661 carloads for the week, down 7.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,489 intermodal units, up 3.1 percent.

For the first 20 weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads' cumulative carload and intermodal volume increased 4.1 percent to 10,364,280 units; Canadian railroads' cumulative volume rose 10.8 percent to 2,843,485 units; and Mexican railroads' cumulative volume declined 2.3 percent to 526,710 units compared with the same period in 2016.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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