Late surge for US carload freight

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
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Total U.S. rail traffic was 567,252 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending December 22, up 4.2% from the year-ago week.

The Association of American Railroads said volume was 277,111 carloads, up 3.1%, and intermodal volume was 290,141 containers and trailers, up 5.3% compared to 2017.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups gained from a year ago. They included coal, up 4.5% to 93,964 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, up 17.7% to 13,401 carloads, and chemicals, up 5.8% to 35,032 carloads.

Commodity groups weaker on-year included metallic ores and metals, down 4.7% to 24,385 carloads; nonmetallic minerals, down 0.8% to 32,826 carloads, and farm products excluding grain, and food, down 0.4% to 16,391 carloads.

For the first 51 weeks of 2018, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 13,430,308 carloads, up 1.7% from 2017, and 14,271,506 intermodal units, up 5.5%. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 51 weeks was 27,701,814 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.6%.

North American volume for the week on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 385,992 carloads, up 2.9%, and 379,667 intermodal units, up 4.8%. Total combined weekly traffic in North America was 765,659 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.9%. North American volume for the first 51 weeks of 2018 was 37,424,031 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.4% compared with 2017.

Canadian railroads reported 87,956 carloads for the week, up 4.8%, and 71,747 intermodal units, up 4.4%. For the first 51 weeks of 2018, Canadian railroads reported cumulative traffic of 7,738,993 carloads, containers and trailers, up 3.8%.

Mexican railroads reported 20,925 carloads for the week, down 6.2%, and 17,779 intermodal units, down 0.8%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 51 weeks of 2018 was 1,983,224 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers.

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