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Fourth Straight Week of Gains Reported on U.S. Freight Railroads

March 26, 2010
The Association of American Railroads reports that for the fourth consecutive week, freight traffic on U.S. railroads was up compared with the same period a year ago during the week ended March 20. 

U.S. railroads originated 287,639 carloads during the week, up 4.3 percent from the comparable week in 2009, but down 10.7 percent from 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 201,300 trailers and containers, up 9.5 percent from last year but down 4.6 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 12.3 percent and trailer volume dipped 3.2 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume was up 3.6 percent while trailer volume fell 33.1 percent.
 
Total volume for the week was estimated at 31.3 billion ton-miles, up 5.4 percent from last year but down 7.7 percent from 2008.

In the Western U.S., carloads were up 5.9 percent compared with the same week last year, but off 7.8 percent compared with 2008. In the Eastern U.S., carloads were up 2.1 percent compared with 2009, but down 14.6 percent compared with 2008.
 
Sixteen of 19 carload commodity groups showed gains from a year ago, with 13 of them showing double digit percentage gains, led by a 69.2 percent increase in loadings of metals and products. Other commodities showing significant increases included grain, up 24 percent; motor vehicles, up 20.8 percent; waste and scrap, up 33.1 percent; lumber and wood products, up 21.8 percent, and chemicals, up 14.4 percent. Coal loadings lagged 6.4 percent while pulp, paper, and allied products slipped 6.1 percent.
 
For the first 11 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,007,297 carloads, up 0.3 percent from 2009, but down 15.2 percent from 2008; 2,220,060 trailers or containers, up 8.3 percent from 2009, but down 8.7 percent from 2008, and total volume of an estimated 327.1 billion ton-miles, up 1.2 percent from 2009 but down 12.3 percent from 2008.
 
Canadian railroads reported volume of 74,225 cars for the week, up 21.1 percent from last year, and 45,000 trailers or containers, up 12.8 percent from 2009. For the first 11 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 787,579 carloads, up 15.2 percent from last year, and 481,065 trailers or containers, up 7.3 percent from last year.
 
Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 12,718 cars, up 18.4 percent from the same week last year, and 5,907 trailers or containers, up 45.3 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 11 weeks of 2010 was reported as 146,935 carloads, up 20.8 percent from last year, and 71,867 trailers or containers, up 41.2 percent.
 
Combined North American rail volume for the first 11 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 3,941,811 carloads, up 3.6 percent from last year, and 2,772,992 trailers and containers, up 8.7 percent from last year.
 
Historic weekly and monthly rail statistics are available at www.aar.org.