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(Source: Progressive Railroading 04/29/2021)

U.S. railroads reported 538,184 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending April 24, a 30% uptick from traffic levels in the same week a year ago, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Carloads for the week totaled 240,075, up 25%, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume totaled 298,109 containers and trailers, up 34.3%.

For some rail traffic categories, year-over-year percentage changes are inflated because of widespread shutdowns — and subsequent large reductions 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.

All 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020, including coal, up 16,126 carloads, to 64,252; motor vehicles and parts, up 9,067 carloads, to 11,302; and chemicals, up 6,759 carloads, to 34,843.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 77,900 carloads for the week, up 8.6%, and 71,311 intermodal units, up 2.3%, while Mexican railroads reported 21,000 carloads for the week, up 52.7%, and 17,035 intermodal units, up 40.5%.

For the first 16 weeks of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020:

• U.S. traffic totaled 8,115,768 carloads and intermodal units, up 9.4%;

• Canadian traffic totaled 2,424,692 carloads, containers and trailers, up 7.1%; and

• Mexican traffic totaled 575,019 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 0.6%.

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