Week 32: US Freight Rail Traffic Remains on Elevated Tracks
US freight rail traffic
In this weekly rail freight series, we’ll review the data for the week ended August 12, 2017, or week 32. The Association of American Railroads (or AAR) releases North American rail freight (UNP) data every week. US combined freight traffic including intermodal rose 2.7% to ~549,000 units from over 534,000 units in the week ended August 13, 2016.
In week 32 of 2017, railcars in the US grew a marginal 0.3% to 268,000 plus railcars compared with 267,000 railcars in the same week last year. Intermodal traffic, however, expanded 5.1% in the reported week. Intermodal traffic was 280,000 plus containers and trailers in the 32nd week of 2017 compared with ~267,000 units last year.
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Volumes in the first 32 weeks
For the first 32 weeks of 2017, US freight railroads (XLI) recorded a total volume of ~8.3 million carloads, up 5.1% compared with the same period last year. The same railroads reported ~8.5 million intermodal units, up 3.2% from last year. The overall US freight traffic for the first 32 weeks of 2017 was 16.8 million carloads and intermodal units, representing a 4.2% rise compared to last year.
Canadian and Mexican railroad volumes
In the week ended August 12, 2017, Canadian railroads (CNI) reported an 8% increase in railcar volumes. The railcar volumes rose to ~75,000 in the same week. These railroads posted a handsome gain in intermodal traffic. The intermodal volumes gained ~15% in the 32nd week to ~71,000 units. Since the beginning of 2017, Canadian railroads have reported a decent rise in freight volumes compared with their US counterparts.
Mexican railroads (KSU) saw a 4.5% gain in railcar volumes to ~16,000 units in week 32 of 2017. Their intermodal volumes were up 15% to 12,600 units in the week ended August 12, 2017.
Next, we’ll go through Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) freight volumes in the 32nd week.