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AAR: Average weekly carloads reach highest level since 2008

(Source: Association of American Railroads press release, August 7, 2014)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased U.S. rail traffic for July 2014, with both carload and intermodal volume increasing compared with July 2013. U.S. Class I railroads originated 1,471,811 carloads in July 2014, up 6.3 percent (86,792 carloads) over July 2013. Total carloads averaged 294,362 per week in July, the highest weekly average for July since 2008.

Intermodal traffic in July totaled 1,286,160 containers and trailers, up 5.5 percent (67,524 units) over July 2013. The weekly average in July was 257,232 units, the highest for any July in history.

Fifteen of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in July. Commodities with the biggest carload increases in July 2014 over July 2013 were led by motor vehicles and parts, up 21,992 carloads, or 35.9 percent. Carloads of crushed stone, gravel, and sand were up 16,690, or 15.9 percent, their third straight month of double-digit year-over-year growth. Carloads of grain rose 14,968 carloads, or 18.7 percent. July marked the ninth straight month of double-digit gains in U.S. grain carloads, something that hasn’t happened since 1995.

Commodity carloads that decreased in July 2014 over July 2013 were led by coal, down 9,464 carloads, or 1.7 percent.

Excluding coal, U.S. rail carloads were up 96,256 carloads, or 11.7 percent, in July 2014 over July 2013, the largest year-over-year percentage gain since June 2010. Excluding coal and grain, carloads in July were up 81,288 carloads, or 11 percent, their largest year-over-year percentage gain since December 2011.

“The economy has had several so-called “false dawns” over the past few years, but based on current rail traffic levels, there’s reason to be optimistic that this time the economy might start growing like it should,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray.

AAR today also reported increased rail traffic for the week ending August 2, 2014. U.S. railroads originated 304,229 carloads last week, up 5.6 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 270,323 units, up 6 percent compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 574,552 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.8 percent compared with the same week last year.

Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including petroleum and petroleum products, with 15,997 carloads, up 24.3 percent; grain, with 19,398 carloads, up 22.1 percent; and, motor vehicles and parts, with 17,765 carloads, up 14.6 percent.

For the first 31 weeks of 2014, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 8,920,105 carloads, up 3.7 percent from the same point last year, and 7,928,600 intermodal units, up 5.9 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 31 weeks of 2014 was 16,848,705 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.7 percent from last year.

Canadian railroads reported 80,921 carloads for the week, up 3.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 60,743 intermodal units, up 8.8 percent compared with 2013. For the first 31 weeks of 2014, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,440,113 carloads, up 1.3 percent from the same point last year, and 1,744,962 intermodal units, up 6.7 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported 16,863 carloads for the week, up 6.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,128 intermodal units, up 10 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 31 weeks of 2014 is 485,083 carloads, up 2.3 percent from the same point last year, and 314,134 intermodal units, up 3.7 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 31 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 11,845,301 carloads, up 3.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 9,987,969 trailers and containers, up 5.9 percent compared with last year.

Friday, August 08, 2014

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