Executive Briefings

Labor Day Slows Rail Traffic in U.S., But Volume Still Ahead of Same Time Last Year

Weekly rail traffic slowed during the Labor Day holiday with U.S. railroads originating 277,530 carloads during the week ending Sept. 11, 2010, according to Association of American Railroads. That was up 5.1 percent compared with the same week in 2009, and down 15.5 percent compared to the same week in 2008. The comparison weeks from 2010 and 2009 included the Labor Day holiday while the comparison week from 2008 did not. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR reports 2010 weekly rail traffic with comparison weeks in both 2009 and 2008.

Intermodal traffic totaled 206,850 trailers and containers, up 18.1 percent from the same week in 2009, and down 12.7 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 20.7 percent and trailer volume rose 4.1 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume decreased 4.6 percent and trailer volume declined 43 percent.

Fifteen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009 with metallic ores and farm products excluding grain posting the most significant increases, up 129.9 percent and 38.7 percent respectively. Three carload commodity groups, led by farm products excluding grain, posted an increase over the 2008 comparison week.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 1.2 percent from the same week last year, but down 20.8 percent from 2008. In the West, carload volume was up 7.7 percent from the same week last year and down 11.7 percent from two years ago.

For the first 36 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,223,248 carloads, up 7 percent from 2009, but down 12.7 percent from 2008, and 7,701,274 trailers or containers, up 14.5 percent from 2009, but down 4.9 percent from 2008.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 71,091 cars for the week, up 12 percent from last year, and 47,080 trailers or containers, up 23 percent from 2009. For the first 36 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,606,661 carloads, up 20.3 percent from last year, and 1,683,449 trailers or containers, up 15.8 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 14,336 cars, up 24.5 percent from the same week last year, and 7,782 trailers or containers, up 9.1 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 36 weeks of 2010 was reported as 494,968 carloads, up 20.8 percent from last year; and 237,378 trailers or containers, up 29.4 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 36 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 13,324,877 carloads, up 9.9 percent from last year, and 9,622,101 trailers and containers, up 15.1 percent from last year.

Source: Association of American Railroads

Weekly rail traffic slowed during the Labor Day holiday with U.S. railroads originating 277,530 carloads during the week ending Sept. 11, 2010, according to Association of American Railroads. That was up 5.1 percent compared with the same week in 2009, and down 15.5 percent compared to the same week in 2008. The comparison weeks from 2010 and 2009 included the Labor Day holiday while the comparison week from 2008 did not. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR reports 2010 weekly rail traffic with comparison weeks in both 2009 and 2008.

Intermodal traffic totaled 206,850 trailers and containers, up 18.1 percent from the same week in 2009, and down 12.7 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 20.7 percent and trailer volume rose 4.1 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume decreased 4.6 percent and trailer volume declined 43 percent.

Fifteen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009 with metallic ores and farm products excluding grain posting the most significant increases, up 129.9 percent and 38.7 percent respectively. Three carload commodity groups, led by farm products excluding grain, posted an increase over the 2008 comparison week.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 1.2 percent from the same week last year, but down 20.8 percent from 2008. In the West, carload volume was up 7.7 percent from the same week last year and down 11.7 percent from two years ago.

For the first 36 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,223,248 carloads, up 7 percent from 2009, but down 12.7 percent from 2008, and 7,701,274 trailers or containers, up 14.5 percent from 2009, but down 4.9 percent from 2008.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 71,091 cars for the week, up 12 percent from last year, and 47,080 trailers or containers, up 23 percent from 2009. For the first 36 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,606,661 carloads, up 20.3 percent from last year, and 1,683,449 trailers or containers, up 15.8 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 14,336 cars, up 24.5 percent from the same week last year, and 7,782 trailers or containers, up 9.1 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 36 weeks of 2010 was reported as 494,968 carloads, up 20.8 percent from last year; and 237,378 trailers or containers, up 29.4 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 36 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 13,324,877 carloads, up 9.9 percent from last year, and 9,622,101 trailers and containers, up 15.1 percent from last year.

Source: Association of American Railroads