AAR reports increased freight rail traffic in 2014

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AAR reports increased freight rail traffic in 2014

January 21, 2015 - 18:59
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WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 8, 2015 (Press Release) -The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported increased freight rail traffic for all of 2014, December and the week.

Total combined traffic for 2014*on U.S. railroads was 28,673,776 carloads, containers, and trailers, up 1,233,184 units or 4.5 percent over 2013 and the highest annual total since 2007.

U.S rail carloads were 15,176,835 in 2014, up 3.9 percent or 567,554 carloads over 2013 and the highest total carloads since 2008. U.S. rail intermodal volume totaled a record 13,496,941 containers and trailers in 2014, up 5.2 per cent or 665,630 units over the previous record set in 2013.

In 2014, 18 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked annually by AAR saw increases on U.S. railroads compared with 2013. Categories with gains included: grain, up 125,954 carloads or

13.5 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 122,567 carloads or 11.6 percent; petroleum and petroleum products, up 90,185 carloads or 12.7 percent; and coal, up 55,554 carloads or 1 percent.

"2014 was a challenging year for America's freight railroads as they responded to traffic surges and shifts in traffic patterns," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics, John T. Gray. "This will be another busy year as the economy continues to grow and the nation's railroads work to be responsive, flexible and efficient for their customers."

December 2014

In December 2014, U.S. railroads originated 1,444,450 carloads, up 118,427 carloads or 8.9 percent compared with December 2013, the largest year-over-year monthly percent increase for total carloads in four years. U.S. rail intermodal originations totaled 1,188,364 containers and trailers in December 2014, up 42,815 carloads or 3.7 percent over December 2013, continuing a 5-year trend in which

year-over-year monthly intermodal volume has risen.

For December 2014, 15 of the 20 carload commodity categories the AAR tracks saw carload gains compared with December 2013, including coal, up 39,452 carloads or 7.5 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 22,865 carloads or 29.2 percent; grain, up 18,636 carloads or 18.8 percent; and petroleum and petroleum products, up 7,395 carloads or 10.3 percent. Commodities that showed carload declines in December 2014 compared with December 2013 included grain mill products, down 1,350 carloads or 2.8 percent.

Traffic for Week ending January 3, 2015**

Total combined U.S. traffic for the week ending Jan. 3, 2015 was 446,201 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.8 percent compared with the same week in 2013.

Intermodal volume totaling 185,675 trailers and containers, down 0.7 percent compared with

the same week in 2013.

Originating carloads were 260,526, up 5.4 percent.

Seven out of 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2013, including: grain, with 22,977 carloads, up 23.4 percent; metallic ores and metals, with 24,396 carloads, up 14.7 percent; and motor vehicles and parts, with 9,196 carloads, up 69 percent. The category showing a decrease in weekly traffic was chemicals, with 28,532 carloads, down 2.5 percent. Coal was flat in percentage terms for the week.

North American Traffic**

Combined North American rail volume for week 53 of 2014 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 347,165 carloads, up 8 percent compared with the same point last year; and 237,429 intermodal trailers and containers, up 1.3 percent compared with the same week in 2013.

Canadian railroads reported 76,422 carloads for the week, up 20.8 percent; and 45,238 intermodal units, up 7.6 percent compared with the same week in 2013.

Mexican railroads reported 10,217 carloads for the week, down 7.1 percent compared with the same week last year; and 6,516 intermodal units, up 24.1 percent.

*Annual figures are weeks 1-52.

**For reporting purposes, the week ending January 3rd is considered to be Week 53 of 2014.