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AAR Reports Weekly Rail Traffic Maintains Steady Pace

August 2, 2010
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reports that rail traffic continues to maintain a steady pace with U.S. railroads originating 286,854 carloads for the week ending July 24, 2010, up 4.7 percent compared with the same week in 2009, but down 13.5 percent from pre-recession levels in 2008. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR reports 2010 weekly rail traffic with comparison weeks in both 2009 and 2008.

Intermodal traffic totaled 230,443 trailers and containers, up 19.2 percent from the same week a year ago and down only 2.1 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 21.1 percent and trailer volume rose 9.3 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume increased 6.4 percent and trailer volume dropped 33.4 percent.

Fifteen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009.  Those groups posting the most significant gains were metallic ores, up 56.3 percent; metals and products, up 31.2 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 29 percent; and farm products excluding grain, up 25.8 percent. Farm products excluding grain, up 5.6 percent, was the only commodity group to post an increase over 2008 levels.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 4.3 percent from last year, but down 16.4 percent from 2008. In the West, carload volume was up 4.9 percent from last year but down 11.5 percent from two years ago.

For the first 29 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 8,160,979 carloads, up 7.2 percent from 2009, but down 13.2 percent from 2008, and 6,085,950 trailers or containers, up 13.3 percent from 2009, but down 6.3 percent from 2008.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 73,375 cars for the week, up 18.9 percent from last year, and 45,904 trailers or containers, up 9.7 percent from 2009. For the first 29 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,0930,971 carloads, up 21.2 percent from last year, and 1,329,878 trailers or containers, up 14.4 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 13,152 cars, up 12.9 percent from the same week last year, and 6,243 trailers or containers, up 7.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 29 weeks of 2010 was reported as 397,190 carloads, up 20.8 percent from last year; and 185,946 trailers or containers, up 33.2 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 29 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 10,652,140 carloads, up 10.2 percent from last year, and 7,601,774 trailers and containers, up 13.9 percent from last year.

For more information, visit www.aar.org.