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AAR Reports Broad Gains in Weekly U.S. Rail Freight Traffic

April 15, 2010
The Association of American Railroads reports that freight traffic on U.S. railroads was once again up sharply for the week ended April 10, 2010 compared with the same period a year ago.  U.S. railroads originated 288,495 carloads during the week, up 16.4 percent from the comparable week in 2009, with all 19 carload commodity groups showing increases from last year. 

However, volume was still down 12 percent compared with the same period in 2008. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR now reports 2010 weekly rail traffic with comparison weeks in both 2009 and 2008.
 
Intermodal traffic totaled 203,549 trailers and containers, up 14.2 percent from last year but down 10.5 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 18.2 percent while trailer volume slipped 4.8 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume was down 2.7 percent while trailer volume slumped 38.8 percent.

Carload volume gained 16.9 percent from last year on Eastern railroads and 16.1 percent on Western carriers. Compared with 2008, however, carload volume was down 14.8 percent in the East and 10 percent in the West.
 
Among the 19 carload commodity groups, particularly strong gains were reported in shipments of metals (108.6 percent); metallic ores (97.6 percent); primary forest products (54.4 percent); scrap (54 percent); motor vehicles (35.5 percent), and chemicals (26 percent). 
 
For the first 14 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,879,123 carloads, up 3.1 percent from 2009, but down 14.5 percent from 2008, and 2,830,780 trailers or containers, up 8.8 percent from 2009, but down 8.7 percent from 2008.
 
Canadian railroads reported 74,686 carloads for the week, up 31 percent from last year, and 44,046 trailers or containers, up 17.4 percent from 2009. For the first 14 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,008,429 carloads, up 16.9 percent from last year, and 612,783 trailers or containers, up 8.1 percent from last year.
 
Mexican railroads reported 14,313 carloads, up 68.7 percent from the same week last year, and 6,566 trailers or containers, up 76.2 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 14 weeks of 2010 was reported as 187,132 carloads, up 22.7 percent from last year; and 90,110 trailers or containers, up 39.5 percent.
 
Combined North American rail volume for the first 14 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 5,074,684 carloads, up 6.2 percent from last year, and 3,533,673 trailers and containers, up 9.3 percent from last year.
 
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is the world's leading railroad policy, research, and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads, or Class I railroads, of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. Class I railroads represent 67 percent of the U.S. freight rail mileage and 90 percent of freight railroad industry employees. Railroads account for 43 percent of intercity freight volume — more than any other mode of transportation. Historic weekly and monthly rail statistics are available at www.aar.org.