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AAR reports mixed rail traffic for February
Gains for week ending March 2

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported that U.S. monthly rail traffic showed mixed results in February, and gains in both carloads and intermodal traffic for the week ending March 2, 2013. Intermodal traffic in February 2013 totaled 983,078 containers and trailers, up 10.5 percent (93,231 units) compared with February 2012. That percentage increase represents the biggest year-over-year monthly gain since December 2010. The weekly average of 245,770 intermodal units in February was the highest weekly average for any February in history. Carloads originated in February totaled 1,113,843 carloads, down 1.1 percent (12,562 carloads) compared with the same month last year. However, carloads excluding coal and grain were up 4.5 percent (25,311 carloads) in February 2013 over February 2012. Commodities with the biggest carload increases in February included petroleum and petroleum products, up 64.2 percent or 21,326 carloads; crushed stone, gravel and sand, up 17.2 percent or 10,759 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, up 2.6 percent or 1,722 carloads; and lumber and wood products, up 10.4 percent or 1,310 carloads. Commodities with carload declines last month included coal, down 4.8 percent or 22,583 carloads; grain, down 17.8 percent or 15,290 carloads; primary metal products, down 7.1 percent or 3,313 carloads; and iron and steel scrap, down 14.7 percent or 2,810 carloads. “Rail intermodal traffic continues to grow.  In February, year-over-year intermodal volume on U.S. railroads rose for the 39th straight week, and February saw the first double-digit year-over-year increase in two years,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray.  “Shippers find intermodal appealing for a lot of reasons, including fuel savings, higher trucking costs, and service that has become much better in recent years.”  AAR also reported gains in rail traffic for the week ending March 2, 2013.  U.S. railroads originated 283,819 carloads last week, up 0.2 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 249,238 units, up 9.7 percent compared with the same week last year.  Total U.S. traffic for the week ending March 2 was 533,057 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.4 percent over the same week last year.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum products, up 69.5 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic were led by grain, down 22.2 percent. For the first nine weeks of 2013, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,453,447 carloads, down 4 percent from the same point last year, and 2,151,708 intermodal units, up 7.6 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first nine weeks of 2013 was 4,605,155 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.1 percent from last year.

Canadian railroads reported 80,495 carloads for the week, up 5.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 52,734 intermodal units, up 13.1 percent compared with 2012. For the first nine weeks of 2013, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 690,157 carloads, up 2.2 percent from the same point last year, and 460,163 intermodal units, up 6.3 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported 15,603 carloads for the week, up 15.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 10,628 intermodal units, up 33.2 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first nine weeks of 2013 is 130,634 carloads, up 9.2 percent from the same point last year, and 84,540 intermodal units, up 3.4 percent from last year.

Combined North American rail volume for the nine weeks of 2013 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 3,274,238 carloads, down 2.3 percent compared with the same point last year, and 2,696,411 trailers and containers, up 7.2 percent compared with last year.

 
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