By Colin Kellaher 
 

North American rail traffic surged 17.6% last week, as railroads lapped last year's large declines in volume related to the coronavirus pandemic-inflated comparisons, data from the Association of American Railroads showed.

Carload volume rose 8.1% for the week ended April 3 on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads, while intermodal traffic jumped 27.2%, the trade group said.

In the week ended March 27, North American rail traffic rose 14.1%. For the first 13 weeks of the year, North American rail traffic is up 5.2%.

In the 13th week of 2020, traffic fell 11.4%, as rail volumes plummeted when large chunks of the economy shut down.

"Rail traffic has clearly rebounded from last year's depths," said John Gray, AAR senior vice president. "Looking ahead, rail volumes are highly correlated with manufacturing output, so recent signs of strength in manufacturing are good signs for railroads too."

The AAR said U.S. rail traffic rose 20% last week, as the volume of intermodal containers and trailers soared 31%, and carloads rose 8.8%. U.S. rail traffic is up 5.6% for the first 13 weeks of the year.

Canadian rail traffic rose 10.3% last week, with intermodal units up 17% and carloads up 4.6%. Canadian rail traffic is up 6.5% for the first 13 weeks of the year.

Mexican rail traffic, which has been down for much of the year, was up 14.9% last week amid a 16.3% jump in carloads and a 13.1% rise in intermodal units. For the year to date, Mexican rail traffic is down 4.4%, the AAR said.

 

Write to Colin Kellaher at colin.kellaher@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 08, 2021 11:15 ET (15:15 GMT)

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