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(Source: Progressive Railroading 04/22/2021)

U.S. railroads reported 533,217 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending April 17, a 32.2% jump from traffic levels in the same week a year ago, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Carloads for the week totaled 237,607, up 25.2% compared with the same week in 2020, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume totaled 295,610 containers and trailers, up 38.3%.

For some rail traffic categories, percentage changes for the week compared with the same week in 2020 are inflated because of widespread shutdowns — and subsequent large reduction in rail volumes — due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted many economic sectors last year at this time, AAR officials said in a press release.

Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included motor vehicles and parts, 10,606 carloads, to 12,549; coal, up 13,166 carloads, to 61,600; and metallic ores and metals, up 7,533 carloads, to 24,803 One commodity group posted a decrease compared with the same week in 2020: petroleum and petroleum products, down 120 carloads, to 10,829.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 82,929 carloads for the week, up 14.2%, and 71,720 intermodal units, up 10.4%, while Mexican railroads reported 20,481 carloads for the week, up 41.6%, and 17,197 intermodal units, up 49.3%.

For the first 15 weeks of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020:
• U.S. traffic totaled 7,577,584 carloads and intermodal units, up 8.2%;

• Canadian traffic totaled 2,275,481 carloads, containers and trailers, up 7.2%; and

• Mexican traffic totaled 536,884 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 1.6%.

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