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AAR Reports U.S. Freight Railroads Continue to Post Gains Over 2009 Levels

June 17, 2010
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reports that for the week ended June 12, 2010, U.S. freight railroads continue to post traffic gains over 2009 levels. U.S. railroads originated 288,973 carloads last week, up 10.5 percent from the comparable week in 2009. However, carloads were still down 10.3 percent from the same week 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.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 12.6 percent from last year, but down 14.9 percent from 2008. In the West, carload volume was up 9.1 percent from last year but down 6.9 percent from two years ago.

Intermodal traffic totaled 223,075 trailers and containers, up 17.7 percent from last year but down 2.3 percent from 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 20.1 percent while trailer volume rose 5.9 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume was rose 6.2 percent while trailer volume fell 33.3 percent.

Sixteen of 19 carload commodity groups were up from last year, led by an 88.9 percent jump in metals. Other notable increases were seen in metallic ores, 57 percent; coke, 49.2 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, 36.5 percent; and waste and scrap materials, 32.4 percent. Groups posting decreases included pulp, paper, and allied products, down 7.5 percent; farm products, down 5.1 percent; and grain mill products, down .7 percent.

For the first 23 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 6,482,557 carloads, up 7.2 percent from 2009, but down 13.5 percent from 2008; 4,748,392 trailers or containers, up 11.3 percent from 2009, but down 7.6 percent from 2008.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 73,703 cars for the week, up 28 percent from last year, and 51,334 trailers or containers, up 31.5 percent from 2009. For the first 23 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,666,962 carloads, up 21.5 percent from last year, and 1,043,785 trailers or containers, up 12.6 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 15,108 cars, up 22.9 percent from the same week last year, and 6,655 trailers or containers, up 39.5 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 23 weeks of 2010 was reported as 313,635 carloads, up 22.7 percent from last year; and 148,761 trailers or containers, up 35.5 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 23 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 8,463,154 carloads, up 10.2 percent from last year, and 5,940,938 trailers and containers, up 12 percent from last year.

The AAR is the world's leading railroad policy, research, and technology organization. AAR members include the major freight railroads, or Class I railroads, of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. For more information, visit www.aar.org.