WASHINGTON — U.S. freight railroads continue to see higher traffic levels than last year, with the week ended November 20 seeing 3.9 percent more traffic moving than a year earlier. According to Association of American Railroads data, carloads for intermodal, the sector most tied to American consumer spending, are up even more sharply.
Shipping containers moving over rails rose 11.7 percent over the corresponding week last year, with trailer volumes up a more modest 5.2 percent. Of commodities shipped in railcars, metallic ores were up most sharply from last year at 76.7 percent, followed by metals (22.3 percent), and crushed stone, sand, and gravel (21.1 percent). Those materials are tied to construction, one of the sectors recovering most slowly from the Great Recession.
Canadian and Mexican railroads are showing similar gains, at 5 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively.