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AAR: Railroads report increased traffic for April and for the week

(Source: Association of American Railroads press release, May 8, 2014)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for April 2014, with both carload and intermodal volume increasing compared with April 2013. Intermodal traffic in April totaled 1,316,176 containers and trailers, up 9 percent (108,485 units) compared with April 2013, and the 53rd-consecutive year-over-year monthly increase for intermodal volume. The weekly average of 263,235 intermodal units on U.S. railroads in April 2014 was easily the highest for any April in history and was the second highest for any month in history.

Meanwhile, U.S. carload originations totaled 1,481,586 in April 2014, up 6.4 percent (88,801 carloads) over April 2013. Fourteen of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in April. Commodities with the biggest carload increases included coal, up 34,502 carloads, or 6.4 percent; grain, up 22,683 carloads, or 27.6 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, 10,194 carloads, or 9.5 percent; and petroleum and petroleum products, up 5,316 carloads, or 7.6 percent.

Commodity categories with carload declines last month included metallic ores, down 8,408 carloads, or 27 percent; and food products, down 972 carloads, or 3 percent.

Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 31,616 carloads, or 4.1 percent in April, the biggest such percentage increase in six months.

“April was a good month for rail traffic, as carload and intermodal volume rebounded from disappointing winter months,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “As is the case for a number of economic indicators that have shown recent improvement, the key question is how much of the rail traffic increase in April represents a catch-up from the winter and how much is a sign of stronger underlying growth. It’s probably some of both.”

AAR today also reported increased rail traffic for the week ending May 3, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 297,432 carloads last week, up 4.8 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 267,369 units, up 8.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 564,801 carloads and intermodal units, up 6.6 percent compared with the same week last year.

Eight of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, led by grain, with 21,018 carloads, up 24.8 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic were led by metallic ores and metals, with 24,912 carloads, down 4.4 percent.

For the first 18 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 5,084,325 carloads, up 2.4 percent (120,557 carloads) from the same point last year, and 4,519,175 intermodal units, up 5.3 percent (226,557 carloads) from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 18 weeks of 2014 was 9,603,500 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.7 percent from last year.

Canadian railroads reported 85,096 carloads for the week, up 6.2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 61,866 intermodal units, up 12.4 percent compared with 2013. For the first 18 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,346,028 carloads, down 5.1 percent from the same point last year, and 968,632 intermodal units, up 4.1 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported 15,339 carloads for the week, up 7.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,528 intermodal units, up 30 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 18 weeks of 2014 is 271,268 carloads, up 1.6 percent from the same point last year, and 171,444 intermodal units, up 1.6 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 18 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 6,701,621 carloads, up 0.8 percent compared with the same point last year, and 5,659,251 trailers and containers, up 5 percent compared with last year.

Friday, May 09, 2014

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