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Week 49: US Rail Freight Traffic Climbs

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Week 49: US rail freight traffic

On December 13, 2017, the AAR (Association of American Railroads) released North American railroads’ freight data for the week ended December 9, 2017, or Week 49. US railroads (CSX) witnessed higher shipments, moving ~560,800 railcars, up 4% from the ~539,000 railcars moved in the week ended December 10, 2016. Railcars comprise intermodal containers and trailers.

US railroads’ (XLI) carload traffic rose 3.4% to ~268,000 railcars in Week 49 of 2017, compared with ~259,000 units in the same week last year. Intermodal traffic’s upward momentum continued, with volumes rising 4.6% to ~293,000 units from ~280,000 units in Week 49 of last year.

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Changes in commodity groups

Seven out of ten commodity groups, including nonmetallic minerals, chemicals (DOW), and metallic ores and metals, posted volume growth between Week 49 of 2016 and Week 49 of 2017. Motor vehicles (TSLA) and parts, grain, and miscellaneous carloads witnessed a fall in volumes.

Cumulative volumes

In the first 49 weeks of 2017, US rail carriers recorded a cumulative volume of 12.7 million carloads, up 3% from the same point last year, and 13.2 million intermodal units, up 3.8% from last year. Combined, US freight volumes in the first 49 weeks of 2017 totaled 25.9 million carloads and intermodal units, representing a 3.4% rise from 2016. Next, we’ll discuss BNSF Railway’s (BRK-B) freight volumes.

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