Intermodal widens weekly lead

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
Port of New Orleans intermodal

Napoleon Avenue Container Terminal at the Port of New Orleans. Photo: Gnovick via Wikipedia

Shipments of containers and trailers posted healthy gains while commodity carloads were weaker from a year ago.

Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 528,440 carloads and intermodal units for the week of February 24, up 2.8% compared with the same week a year ago.

Total traffic was 251,970 carloads, down 1.3%, while intermodal volume was 276,470 containers and trailers, up 6.7%, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Only four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase on-year: coal, 0.9%; petroleum and petroleum products, 6.4%; farm products excluding grain, and food, 0.6%, and chemicals, 0.1%.

Commodity groups declining from the same week in 2017 included grain, 5.4%; motor vehicles and parts, 5.9%, and nonmetallic minerals, 3.2%.

For the first eight weeks of 2018, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,980,887 carloads, down 2.4%, and 2,134,607 intermodal units, up 4.3%. Total combined traffic was 4,115,494 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 1%.

North American rail volume for the week on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 346,089 carloads, down 2.7%, and 363,753 intermodal units, up 6.4%. Total combined traffic was 709,842 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.8%. Volume for the first eight weeks of 2018 was 5,528,880 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.7% compared with 2017.

Canadian railroads reported 72,911 carloads for the week, down 6.7%, and 68,277 intermodal units, up 6.1%. For the first eight weeks of 2018, cumulative traffic volume of 1,111,750 carloads, containers and trailers was unchanged from a year ago.

Mexican railroads reported 21,208 carloads for the week, down 4.8%, and 19,006 intermodal units, up 2.9%. Cumulative volume for the first eight weeks of this year was 301,636 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 1.1%.

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