FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AAR Reports Increased Intermodal, Carload Traffic for September and the Week
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oct. 3, 2013 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased total U.S. rail traffic for the month of September 2013, with intermodal and carload volume increasing overall compared with September 2012. Intermodal traffic in September totaled 1,027,522 containers and trailers, up 4.4 percent (43,055 units) compared with September 2012. The weekly average of 256,881 intermodal units in September was the second-highest monthly average of any month in history. The three highest-volume intermodal weeks in history for U.S. railroads occurred last month; only the Labor Day holiday prevented it from being the highest-volume intermodal month in history. Carloads originated in September 2013 totaled 1,159,784, up 0.7 percent or 7,595 carloads compared with the same month last year.
Eleven of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw year-over-year carload increases in September over the same month last year. Commodities with the biggest carload increases last month included crushed stone, sand, and gravel, up 10.0 percent or 8,253 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, up 12.0 percent or 7,429 carloads; and petroleum and petroleum products, up 10.4 percent or 4,825 carloads.
Commodity categories with carload declines last month included coal, down 2.7 percent or 12,894 carloads from September 2012; and grain, down 11.3 percent or 8,627 carloads.
Excluding coal, total U.S. carloads were up 3.0 percent, or 20,489 carloads, in September compared with September last year. Excluding coal and grain, U.S. carloads were up 4.9 percent, or 29,116 carloads, in September.
“Those who follow the rail industry know that carloads of grain and coal can rise or fall by substantial amounts for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the state of the economy,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Not so with most other rail traffic categories, however. The fact that rail carloads excluding coal and grain were up 4.9 percent in September — the biggest year-over-year monthly gain since last December — is a hopeful sign.”
AAR today also reported increased rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 28, 2013. U.S. railroads originated 296,809 carloads last week, up 0.5 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 269,853 units, up 2.9 percent compared with the same week last year and the highest intermodal total for any week in history. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week ending September 28 was 566,662 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.6 percent compared with the same week last year.
Five of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked on a weekly basis posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, including: petroleum and petroleum products, up 14.3 percent; nonmetallic minerals and products, up 12.7 percent; and motor vehicles and parts, up 11.9 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included grain, down 19.5 percent.
For the first 39 weeks of 2013, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,940,538 carloads, down 0.9 percent from the same point last year, and 9,547,764 intermodal units, up 3.7 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 39 weeks of 2013 was 20,488,302 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.2 percent from last year.
Canadian railroads reported 86,685 carloads for the week, up 4.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 58,248 intermodal units, up 6.0 percent compared with 2012. For the first 39 weeks of 2013, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,056,774 carloads, up 1.7 percent from the same point last year, and 2,086,889 intermodal units, up 4.0 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported 14,716 carloads for the week, up 0.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 12,441 intermodal units, up 2.7 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 39 weeks of 2013 is 596,573 carloads, up 7.5 percent from the same point last year, and 391,158 intermodal units, up 1.3 percent.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 39 weeks of 2013 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 14,593,885 carloads, down 0.1 percent compared with the same point last year, and 12,025,811 trailers and containers, up 3.6 percent compared with last year.
About AAR: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is the world's leading railroad policy, research and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. Learn more at www.aar.org. Follow us on Twitter: AAR_FreightRail or Facebook: www.facebook.com/freightrail.