U.S. rail traffic keeps on keeping on

Written by Douglas John Bowen
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Freight rail traffic continued to increase for North America's three largest economies in the week ending Oct. 18, 2014, led by strong U.S. rail gains, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported Thursday, Oct. 23.

U.S. freight carload traffic kept up its recent momentum, up 2.7% for the week measured against the comparable week in 2013. U.S. intermodal rose 3% compared with levels of a year ago. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was up 2.9% compared with the same week last year.

Somewhat surprisingly, just half of the 10 carload commodity groups AAR measures on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2013 – not surprisingly including petroleum and petroleum products, up 17.4%. Also up was nonmetallic minerals, up 12.5%. Chemicals led the declining commodity groups, down 4.6%.

Canadian freight carload traffic for the week ending Oct. 18 rose 4.6%, but Canadian intermodal volume failed to remain in the win column, slipping 4%. Mexican freight carload traffic for the week rose 14.2% measured against levels of a year ago, while Mexican intermodal edged up 0.4%.

Combined North American freight carload traffic the first 42 weeks of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads was up 3.1% measured agasint the comparable period in 2013. Combined North American intermodal volume wa up 5.6% for the period.

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