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AAR: Intermodal volume continues growth streak in February 2014

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed U.S. rail traffic for the month of February 2014, with carload volume decreasing and intermodal volume increasing compared with February 2013. Intermodal traffic in February totaled 993,807 containers and trailers, up 1.1 percent (10,729 units) compared with February 2013, which represents the 51st-consecutive year-over-year monthly increase for intermodal volume. U.S. carload originations totaled 1,100,858 in February 2014, down 1.1% (12,061 carloads) from February 2013.

Nine of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in February over the same month last year. Commodities with the biggest carload increases last month included grain, up 12.3 percent or 8,696 carloads, and grain mill products, up 10.1 percent or 3,645 carloads.

Commodity categories with carload declines last month included coal, down 3.5 percent or 15,571 carloads from February 2013, and primary metal products, down 7.2 percent or 3,092 carloads. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 5,186 carloads or 0.9 percent in February 2014 over the same month last year.

“It would be nice to be able to separate out the effects of the harsh winter on rail traffic, but we can’t do that. We can probably expect improvements in the rail numbers in the months ahead, assuming that the weather and the economy cooperate,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “In the meantime, crude oil has become a significant part of the railroad business. Railroads know how important it is to move crude oil safely, and they are committed to continually searching for ways to make this happen.”

AAR today also reported increased rail traffic for the week ending March 1, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 287,294 carloads last week, up 1.4 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 257,710 units, up 3.4 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 545,004 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.3 percent compared with the same week last year.

Four of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including: grain, with 19,746 carloads, up 14.3 percent, and nonmetallic minerals and products, with 31,793 carloads, up 11.5 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic were led by metallic ores and metals, with 23,863 carloads, down 5.2 percent.

For the first nine weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,446,042 carloads, down 0.3 percent from the same point last year, and 2,177,092 intermodal units, up 1.2 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first nine weeks of 2014 was 4,623,134 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.4 percent from last year.

Canadian railroads reported 71,203 carloads for the week, down 11.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 54,344 intermodal units, up 3 percent compared with 2013. For the first nine weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 635,287 carloads, down 7.9 percent from the same point last year, and 455,652 intermodal units, down 0.8 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported 14,726 carloads for the week, down 2.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 9,455 intermodal units, down 11.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first nine weeks of 2014 is 132,441 carloads, up 1.5 percent from the same point last year, and 85,860 intermodal units, down 1 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first nine weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 3,213,770 carloads, down 1.8 percent compared with the same point last year, and 2,178,604 trailers and containers, up 0.8 percent compared with last year.

Friday, March 07, 2014

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