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AAR Smartbrief - December 2013

December 27, 2013



AAR SmartBrief


AAR  news coverage of the railroad industry



Industry Update

AAR: Intermodal chalks up another weekly gain, carloads drop
Freight carload traffic dipped 0.3% in the week ended Dec. 21 on a year-over-year basis, but intermodal activity rose 6.4%, according to the Association of American Railroads. Shipments of petroleum products rose 12.7%, and four other carload categories posted gains. Overall weekly rail traffic in the U.S. climbed 2.8% compared with the same period a year earlier, AAR noted. RailwayAge.com (12/26)


Infrastructure & Economic Spotlight

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Higher likelihood of surprisingly good economic news seen in new year
With considerable help from a recovering U.S., the global economy is more likely to surprise with positive than negative news in the coming year, Nariman Behravesh, chief economist of IHS Global Insight, said in an interview. So by the end of 2014, "there will be more hope, there will be more optimism about the economy. And in particular, consumers and businesses I think will be more willing to spend, which will again help to create more jobs and a better mood in terms of the economy," Behravesh said. National Public Radio (12/25)


Congress is close to action on $1T spending measure
Senior lawmakers said they are making headway in coming up with legislation to guide the U.S. government's spending. Leaders of the appropriations committees of the House and Senate, along with staff members, have been working through the holidays on a measure that spells out a broad budget compromise reached this month. The next budget deadline is only weeks away. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (12/26)

N.C. shippers get easier access to global market via NS rail yard
A Norfolk Southern rail yard in Greensboro, N.C., has seen increased volume since the Class I and the Port of Virginia worked together to load containers from area companies bound for export from Norfolk, Va. "Our business has grown tremendously in the past two years, and the rail has meant a lot," said John Beard, president of Beard Hardwoods. "It has enabled us to turn our product quicker, and there's no doubt it has helped us increase our revenue." The News & Record (Greensboro, N.C.) (12/27)

ยง  CSX roundhouse in N.C. is "one of two steam-engine-era electric turntables" left in the state
Raleigh Public Record (N.C.) (12/23)


Energy & Environmental Watch

Shift to rail transport among 10 sustainable transport trends of 2013
Freight rail remains one of the most fuel-efficient forms of transporting goods and materials, which is why some firms are switching back to rail rather than other forms of transport, writes Garrett Hering. This trend has great potential for emissions-saving benefits. An independent study made for the Federal Railroad Administration found that if just 10% of long-haul truckloads were switched to rail, it would be equivalent "to taking nearly 2 million cars off the roads." GreenBiz.com (12/26)



AAR News

AAR reports mixed weekly rail traffic
The Association of American Railroads on Thursday reported mixed U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Dec. 21, with 289,528 total U.S. carloads, down 0.3% compared with the same week last year. Total U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 255,456 units, up 6.4% compared with the same week last year. Total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic was 544,984 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.8% compared with the same week last year. Read more.

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Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain -- and most fools do."

-- Benjamin Franklin,
American statesman and Founding Father

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