Call it the dreary month of May. The Association of American Railroads reported Thursday that U.S. carloadings sank 24.7% last month, compared with the same month last year. Intermodal traffic fared only a little better, posting a 19.7% loss.
Canadian railroads saw carload traffic drop 32.8%, and intermodal traffic declined 18%.
"May marked the second straight month in which U. S. rail carloads had double-digit declines, a consequence of lower electricity demand and higher coal stockpiles," said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. "Industrial production is still down sharply across the board. That means lower demand for rail service for everything from chemicals and scrap metals to cement and ores. Basically, railroads are in a waiting game—waiting for the economy to turn."
For just the last week of May, carload traffic in the U.S. was down 26.3%, and intermodal volume was down 19.2%. In Canada for the week ended May 30, carloadings were down 30.9% and intermodal declined 20.8%.