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AAR Reports Weekly Rail Traffic Posts Strong Gains Over 2009 During Holiday Week

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported weekly rail traffic posted strong gains over 2009 for the holiday week ending Dec. 25, 2010, with U.S. freight railroads originating 256,098 carloads, up 29.3 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal traffic for the week totaled 177,249 trailers and containers, up 25.1 percent compared with the same week in 2009, with container volume up 24.2 percent and trailer volume up 29.9 percent. Both the current week and the comparison week from 2009 included the holiday, however, Christmas 2010 fell on a Saturday while Christmas 2009 fell on a Friday.

Seventeen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009 with all posting double digit gains in loadings. Those carload commodity groups posting increases of over 50 percent included: metallic ores, up 65 percent, and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 55 percent. Commodities reporting declines were non-metallic minerals, down 18.7 percent, and grain mill products, down 2 percent.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 33.3 percent compared with last year. In the West, carload volume was up 27.2 percent compared with the same week in 2009.

For the first 51 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 14,580,055 carloads, up 7.3 percent from last year, and 11,115,442 trailers or containers, up 14.3 percent from the comparison week in 2009.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 67,334 cars for the week, up 21.5 percent from last year, and 39,108 trailers or containers, up 28 percent from 2009. For the first 51 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,729,258 carloads, up 16.9 percent from last year, and 2,408,743 trailers or containers, up 15.7 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 12,948 cars, up 20.8 percent from the same week last year, and 5,656 trailers or containers, up 3.6 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 51 weeks of 2010 was reported as 701,439 carloads, up 18.1 percent from last year; and 347,909 trailers or containers, up 22.3 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 51 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 19,010,752 carloads, up 9.4 percent from last year, and 13,872,094 trailers and containers, up 14.7 percent from last year.

The AAR has announced several changes to certain carload commodity groups reported in the Weekly Rail Traffic Report that will take effect in Week 1 of 2011. Commodity Group 18, Waste and Scrap Materials, will be split into two groups, Iron and Steel Scrap (Group 18) and Waste and Nonferrous Scrap (Group 19). Commodity Group 19 will be renumbered to Commodity Group 20. Crude Petroleum will be moved from the new Commodity Group 20 to Commodity Group 13, Petroleum Products. Finally, Distiller’s Dried Grains will be moved from Commodity Group 8 to Commodity Group 7, Grain Mill Products. Rail traffic data for 2010 will be restated to maintain consistency for the year-to-year comparison.

For more information, visit www.aar.org.

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