Rail traffic moved smartly ahead the first week of July as shippers secured orders before President Trump’s tariffs take full effect.
Traffic on U.S. carriers for the week ending July 7 totaled 485,193 carloads and intermodal units, up 8.6% from the same week in 2017, according to the Association of American Railroads.
Carloads came to 240,514 units, up 5.4%, while intermodal volume was 244,679 containers and trailers, up 12% from a year ago, the latter amid fears the looming trade war will wreck end-of-year retail holiday sales.
Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase year-on-year, led by petroleum, 21.4%, and grain, 17.7%. Nonmetallic minerals, including frac sand, gained 7.1%
Coal posted the only decline at 0.5%.
For the first 27 weeks of 2018, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 6,987,928 carloads, up 1.4% from 2017, and 7,398,236 intermodal units, up 6.2%. Total combined U.S. traffic was 14,386,164 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.8%.
North American volume for the week on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 338,186 carloads, up 5.9%, and 327,254 intermodal units, up 9.8%. Total combined weekly traffic was 665,440 carloads and intermodal units, up 7.8%. Volume for the first 27 weeks of 2018 was 19,399,124 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.5% from a year ago.
Traffic on Canadian railroads totaled 77,607 carloads for the week, up 9.4%, and 64,497 intermodal units, up 2.7%. For the first 27 weeks of this year, volume was 3,982,386 carloads, containers and trailers, up 3.7%.
Mexican railroads reported 20,065 carloads for the week, down 0.6% from the same week a year ago, and 18,078 intermodal units, up 8.6%. Cumulative volume for the first 27 weeks of 2018 was 1,030,574 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers.