Fourteen of the 20 carload commodity groups saw increases from the comparable week in 2010. Commodities that posted significant carload gains included: farm products excluding grain, up 37.2 percent; metallic ores, up 17.7 percent; metals and products, up 13.5 percent; petroleum products, up 12.7 percent; and pulp, paper and allied products, up 11.4 percent. Commodity groups reporting notable declines were waste and nonferrous scrap, down 11.6 percent, and nonmetallic minerals, down 10.4 percent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 2.4 percent compared with last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 6.2 percent compared with the same week in 2010.
For the first four weeks of 2011, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,142,293 carloads, up 8 percent from last year, and 863,099 trailers and containers, up 7.4 percent from the same point in 2010.
Canadian railroads reported volume of 71,382 cars for the week, up 3.6 percent from last year, and 45,694 trailers and containers, up 6.6 percent from 2010. For the first four weeks of 2011, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 278,142 carloads, down 1.6 percent from the same point last year, and 178,596 trailers and containers, up 2.6 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported 15,148 carloads for the week, up 13.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 7,172 trailers and containers, up 10.3 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first four weeks of 2011 was reported as 58,456 carloads, up 7.1 percent from the same point last year, and 27,222 trailers and containers, up 4.7 percent.
Combined North American rail volume for the first four weeks of 2011 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 1,478,891 carloads, up 6 percent compared with the same point last year, and 1,068,917 trailers and containers, up 6.5 percent compared with last year.
NOTE: As previously announced, AAR has made several changes to certain carload commodity groups reported in the Weekly Rail Traffic Report, effective Week 1 of 2011. Commodity Group 18, Waste and Scrap Materials, has been split into two groups: Iron and Steel Scrap (Group 18) and Waste and Nonferrous Scrap (Group 19). Commodity Group 19 has been renumbered to Commodity Group 20. Crude Petroleum has been moved from the new Commodity Group 20 to Commodity Group 13, Petroleum Products. Finally, Distiller’s Dried Grains has been moved from Commodity Group 8 to Commodity Group 7, Grain Mill Products. Rail traffic data for 2010 has been restated in the associated charts to maintain consistency for the year-over-year comparison.
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