Freight Traffic Up in November 2016

For the first time this year U.S. railroads posted traffic gains for the month over a year’s period.

AARThe Association of American Railroads said November 2016 traffic was up 1.1 percent over what railroads carried in November 2015.

Railroads carred 2,638,197 carloads and intermodal units during the month.

AAR said the total volume reflected slight increases in both carloads and intermodal containers and trailers.

Carload traffic rose 0.4 percent to 1,319,008 units, while intermodal increased by 1.9 percent to 1,319,189 units compared with year-ago numbers, according to an AAR press release.

“There are glimmers of hope in rail traffic data in November, with carloads and intermodal totals both up over last year — something that hasn’t happened for carloads in 22 months and for intermodal in nine months,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John Gray in a statement.

“Hopefully, these results are indicators of continuing future growth for the manufacturing economy, for trade, and for rail traffic. It appears that economic fundamentals are trending toward more positive results than have been seen in the recent past.”

AAR said 11 of the 20 carload commodity categories that is tracks posted gains in November 2016 when compared with the same month in 2015.

Those included grain, up 18.6 percent; chemicals, up 1.9 percent; and waste and nonferrous scrap, up 13.1 percent.

Commodities that decreased compared with a year ago included petroleum and petroleum products, down 15.4 percent; coal, down 2 percent; and motor vehicles and parts, down 3.5 percent. Excluding coal, carloads rose 1.7 percent last month compared with carloads in November 2015.

For the first 11 months of 2016, total rail traffic volume in the United States was 24,601,839 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.8 percent from the same point last year.

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