Rail freight continues to benefit from tight trucking capacity as spot market demand for highway haulage exploded this month.
Traffic for U.S. Class I railroads totaled 561,061 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.2%, for the week ending June 9 from the same week a year ago, according to the Association of American Railroads.
Total traffic was 271,641 carloads, up 2.8%, while intermodal volume was 289,420 containers and trailers, up 5.6%, and the second-highest intermodal week ever.
Weekly spot truck rates surged 27% from the previous week, and 105% in May from the same month in 2017, according to DAT RateView.
Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2017. They included metallic ores and metals, 10.3%; nonmetallic minerals, 5.9%, and petroleum and petroleum products, 14.7%
Commodity groups that declined were miscellaneous carloads, 5.7%; forest products, 2.4%, and coal, 0.3%.
For the first 23 weeks of 2018, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 5,938,286 carloads, up 1.3%, and 6,283,004 intermodal units, up 5.9%. Combined traffic was 12,221,290 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.6% from a year ago.
North American rail volume for the week ending June 9 on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 375,770 carloads, up 3%, and 377,353 intermodal units, up 4.3%. Combined volume was 753,123 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.7%. Volume for the first 23 weeks of this year was 16,473,646 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.2%.
Canadian railroads reported 82,262 carloads for the week, up 6.2%, and 69,351 intermodal units, up 0.8%. For the first 23 weeks of 2018, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,379,007 carloads, containers and trailers, up 3.4%.
Mexican railroads reported 21,867 carloads for the week and 18,582 intermodal units. Cumulative volume for the first 23 weeks of 2018 was 873,349 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers.