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U.S. rail traffic up 1.9 percent during week of May 28

U.S. railroads logged a slight increase in total traffic volume for the week ending May 28, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The railroads reported 513,917 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.9 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal business — which rose 8 percent to 267,036 containers and trailers— boosted the total traffic count for the week. But carload numbers continued the downward trend, with U.S. railroads reporting 246,881 carloads, down 4.1 percent compared with the same week in 2015. The comparable week in 2015 does not include Memorial Day, so the numbers for the week in 2016 are not a true reflection of rail traffic when compared to last year, AAR officials said. Among carload commodity groups tracked by AAR, coal once again led the pack in terms of decreases. Coal plummeted 25 percent to 65,832 carloads for the week. Other commodities that posted decreases included petroleum and petroleum products, down 13.9 percent to 12,258 carloads; and forest products, down 6.9 percent to 10,104 carloads. Seven of the 10 commodity groups that AAR follows posted increases. They included: miscellaneous carloads, up 57 percent to 11,119 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, up 10.2 percent to 18,897 carloads; and nonmetallic minerals, up 9.3 percent to 35,410 carloads. Canadian railroads recorded 65,392 carloads for the week, down 12.9 percent, and 56,557 intermodal units, down 10.8 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 21 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,687,318 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.5 percent. Mexican railroads' traffic clocked in at 17,979 carloads for the week, up 6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,149 intermodal units, down 8.6 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 21 weeks of 2016 was 565,301 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 0.1 percent from the same point last year.

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