WASHINGTON, July 8 (UPI) -- U.S. rail deliveries of petroleum and petroleum products increased by more than 20 percent during the last week in June, the Association of American Railroads said.
The AAR said total U.S. weekly rail traffic for major commodity groups was up 1 percent to 281,367 carloads for the last full week of June year-on-year. For the first 26 weeks of 2013, however, the rail deliveries were down 1.5 percent compared to the same time last year.
Half of the commodity groups monitored by AAR reported increased rail traffic for the last week in June when compared to the same time last year. Petroleum and petroleum products led the way with a 26.6 percent increase year-on-year, the trade group reported last week.
Rail deliveries of crude oil in the United States are increasing because production gains are straining existing pipeline capacity. A U.S. State Department review of the planned Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada said rail must be considered against the pipeline when weighing its national interest.
AAR said Canadian rail traffic had decreased for June. The Canadian National Railway Co. said Wednesday it would start servicing oil production in Alberta with a new terminal starting in November.
At least five people died when oil freight carried by Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway exploded Saturday in Quebec.