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AAR: Rail industry sets weekly intermodal record in January 2014

(Source: Association of American Railroads press release, February 6, 2014)

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased total U.S. rail traffic for January 2014, with intermodal and carload volume increasing overall compared with January 2013. Intermodal traffic in January 2014 totaled 1,183,285 containers and trailers, up 1.3 percent (14,682 units) compared with January 2013. The weekly average of 236,657 intermodal units in January is the highest weekly average for any January on record. U.S. carload traffic totaled 1,345,184 carloads in January 2014, up 0.4 percent (5,183 carloads) over January 2013.

Seven of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in January over the same month last year. Commodities with the biggest carload increases last month included grain, up 13.2 percent or 12,141 carloads, and petroleum and petroleum products, up 10.4 percent or 6,777 carloads. Crude oil accounts for approximately half of this commodity category.

Commodity categories with carload declines last month included metallic ores, down 23.5 percent or 7,389 carloads from January 2013, and motor vehicles and parts, down 6.1 percent or 4,158 carloads.

Coal carloads were down 0.5 percent, or 2,901 carloads, in January 2014 from January 2013. Excluding coal, carloads were up 1 percent (8,084 carloads) in January 2014.

“Railroads are very good at operating their 140,000 mile long, outdoor ‘factory floor’ in all kinds of difficult weather. That said, in many parts of the country, January took the term difficult weather to new lows, as in low temperatures, for recent years,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “We can’t quantify it precisely, but the extreme cold probably held down rail traffic to some extent – for example, by making it more difficult for rail customers to produce their products and to load what they did produce into rail cars.”

AAR today also reported decreased rail traffic for the week ending February 1, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 270,903 carloads last week, down 1.5 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 247,109 units, down 0.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 518,012 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.2 percent compared with the same week last year.

Two of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including: grain, with 20,745 carloads, up 22.5 percent, and petroleum and petroleum products, with 13,255 carloads, up 0.8 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic were led by nonmetallic minerals and products, with 26,785 carloads, down 8.8 percent.

For the first five weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,345,184 carloads, up 0.4 percent from the same point last year, and 1,183,285 intermodal units, up 1.3 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first five weeks of 2014 was 2,528,469 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.8 percent from last year.

Canadian railroads reported 72,288 carloads for the week, down 3.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 46,527 intermodal units, down 6.3 percent compared with 2013. For the first five weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 352,192 carloads, down 5.4 percent from the same point last year, and 242,102 intermodal units, down 3.5 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported 15,055 carloads for the week, down 1.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,319 intermodal units, up 1.1 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first five weeks of 2014 is 71,951 carloads, up 4.4 percent from the same point last year, and 46,058 intermodal units, up 2.7 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first five weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 1,769,327 carloads, down 0.7 percent compared with the same point last year, and 1,471,445 trailers and containers, up 0.5 percent compared with last year.

Friday, February 07, 2014

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