By Colin Kellaher

 

North American rail traffic rose 3.7% last week, as supply-chain issues have slowed the rate of recent gains, data from the Association of American Railroads showed.

Carload volume rose 5.8% for the week ended July 31 on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads, while intermodal traffic rose 1.9%, the trade group said Wednesday.

In the week ended July 24, North American rail traffic rose 4.6%. For the first 30 weeks of the year, North American rail traffic is up 10.9%.

The AAR said U.S. rail traffic rose 3% last week, as carloads rose 5.2% and the volume of intermodal containers and trailers edged up 1.2%. U.S. rail traffic is up 12.4% for the first 30 weeks of the year.

The trade group said a recent deceleration in U.S. rail volumes reflects several factors, including a sharp drop in grain exports, taking rail carloads of grain down with them, and the semiconductor shortage that is hampering automakers, leading to sharply lower rail auto volumes. The AAR also noted that worldwide supply-chain slowdowns are impacting both rail customers and railroads themselves.

"While all of these should be manageable, temporary setbacks, their convergence has resulted in weaker rail volumes than basic domestic economic factors might otherwise imply," said John Gray, AAR senior vice president.

Canadian rail traffic rose 3.5% last week, as carloads rose 4.1% and intermodal units rose 2.9%. Canadian rail traffic is up 7.3% for the first 30 weeks of the year.

Mexican rail traffic leapt 15.5% last week amid a 20.3% surge in carloads and a 9.9% rise in intermodal units. Mexican rail traffic is up 6.7% for the year to date, the AAR said.

 

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

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 04, 2021 12:44 ET (16:44 GMT)

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