Crude oil propping up rail business, AAR says

March 7, 2014 at 7:05 AM
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WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- Crude oil deliveries now account for a major part of the railroad business, the senior vice president of the Association of American Railroads said.

AAR said more than half of the 20 commodity groups carried by rail saw decreases in their year-on-year deliveries in February. AAR Senior Vice President John Gray said better weather and a healthier economy should lead to improvements in rail volumes in the month ahead.

"In the meantime, crude oil has become a significant part of the railroad business," he said in a statement Thursday.

AAR reported 127,534 carloads of crude oil, or about 89 million barrels of oil, were sent by rail from Jan. 1 to March 1, a 6.5 percent increase from the same time last year.

However, the 13,244 carloads, or 9.3 million barrels of oil, for the week ending March 1 was down 3.8 percent compared with the same week in 2013.

The Energy Information Administration last week said the rough winter season was affecting everything from pipeline deliveries to rail transit.

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