Traffic on U.S. railroads was 568,941 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending December 15, up 3.9% compared with the same week in 2017.
Carloads continued to trail containers and trailers, at 267,534 units, up 1.4%, while intermodal volume was 301,407 containers and trailers, up 6.2% from a year ago, according to the Association of American Railroads.
Five of the 10 carload commodity groups were better on-year. Gainers included coal, up 3.7% or 3,262 carloads, to 91,218; petroleum and petroleum products, up 27.2% or 2,897 carloads, to 13,551, and metallic ores and metals, up 3.5% or 820 carloads, to 23,929.
Coal has benefited from an uptick in exports as well as low stockpiles at some western U.S. energy generators.
Decliners included nonmetallic minerals, down 6.4% or 2,078 carloads, to 30,549; grain, down 4.4% or 1,030 carloads, to 22,550, and motor vehicles and parts, down 1.9% or 340 carloads, to 17,304.
Through the first 50 weeks of 2018, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 13,153,197 carloads, up 1.7% from the previous-year period, and 13,981,365 intermodal units, up 5.5%. Total U.S. traffic for the first 50 weeks was 27,134,562 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.6%.
North American rail volume for the week ending December 15 on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 373,285 carloads, up 1.6%, and 393,598 intermodal units, up 6.2%. Combined weekly traffic in North America was 766,883 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.9%. North American rail volume for the first 50 weeks of 2018 was 36,655,329 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.3% on 2017.
Canadian railroads reported 84,550 carloads for the week, up 3.4%, and 72,894 intermodal units, up 5.2%. For the first 50 weeks of 2018, cumulative traffic of 7,579,290 carloads, containers and trailers gained 3.8%.
Mexican railroads reported 21,201 carloads for the week, down 2.3% from a year ago, and 19,297 intermodal units, up 10.5%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 50 weeks of 2018 was 1,941,477 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers.