Thursday, May 18, 2017

Weekly rail freight notches up

Written by  Stuart Chirls, senior editor, Railway Age

Weekly rail traffic on U.S. railroads continued to strengthen, to 526,970 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending May 13, a gain of 5.7 percent from the same week in 2016.

Overall traffic totaled 255,361 carloads, up 7 percent, while intermodal volume was 271,609 containers and trailers, ahead 4.4% from a year ago, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

Nine of 10 tracked commodity groups were gainers on-year led by grain, 26.3 percent to 23,256 carloads; coal, 14.5 percent to 74,290 carloads, and nonmetallic minerals, 6.5 percent to 38,167 carloads. Petroleum and petroleum products slid 20.1 percent to 9,387 carloads.

For the first 19 weeks of 2017, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 4,853,945 carloads, up 6.5 percent from the same period a year ago, and 4,975,413 intermodal units, up 1.8 percent. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 19 weeks was 9,829,358 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 4 percent.

North American rail volume for the week ending May 13 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 349,305 carloads, a gain of 9 percent and 351,731 intermodal units, ahead 6.7 percent. Total combined weekly rail traffic reached 701,036 carloads and intermodal units, ahead by 7.8 percent. Rail volume for the first 19 weeks of this year totaled 13,026,065 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.1 percent compared with 2016.

Canadian railroads reported 78,046 carloads for the week, up 20.4 percent and 68,038 intermodal units, up 17.6 percent compared with the same week in 2016. For the first 19 weeks of 2017, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,698,147 carloads, containers and trailers, 10.7 percent better.

Mexican railroads tallied 15,898 carloads for the week, off 6.1 percent on-year while posting 12,084 intermodal units, a gain of 2.1 percent. Cumulative volume for the first 19 weeks of this year was 498,560 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, a drop of 2.2 percent from the same period a year ago.