AAR: Rail traffic decline steady with service, manufacturing sector divide

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor
image description

In reporting weekly U.S. rail traffic as well as volumes for October 2015 and the first 10 months of 2015, AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray said that "a divide has opened up between the service sector, which appears to be fairly robust in many respects, and manufacturing, which appears to be facing increasingly strong headwinds, including international turmoil and slowdowns in the energy sector.”

Carload traffic in October totaled 1,124,470 carloads, down 6.9% or 83,578 carloads from October 2014. U.S. railroads also originated 1,089,310 containers and trailers in October 2015, down 1.4% or 15,769 units from the same month last year. For October 2015, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,213,780, down 4.3% or 99,347 carloads and intermodal units from October 2014.

In October 2015, five of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with October 2014. This included: grain, up 12.9% or 11,366 carloads; miscellaneous carloads, up 27.3% or 5,293 carloads; and motor vehicles and parts, up 6.7% or 4,654 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in October 2015 from October 2014 included: coal, down 13.3% or 59,791 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 18.6% or 12,209 carloads; and metallic ores, down 27.9% or 9,029 carloads.

Excluding coal, carloads were down 3.1% or 23,787 carloads in October 2015 from October 2014.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first ten months of 2015 was 12,005,156 carloads, down 4.6% or 579,405 carloads, while intermodal containers and trailers were 11,506,577 units, up 2.1% or 234,100 containers and trailers when compared to the same period in 2014. For the first ten months of 2015, total rail traffic volume in the United States was 23,511,733 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.4% or 345,305 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year.

Total U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending Oct. 31, 2015 was 549,707 carloads and intermodal units, down 6% compared with the same week last year. For the week there were 279,327 carloads, down 8.5% compared with the same week in 2014, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 270,380 containers and trailers, down 3.4% compared to 2014.

Four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2014. They included: miscellaneous carloads, up 15.7% to 9,860 carloads; chemicals, up 3.2% to 30,518; and motor vehicles and parts, up 2.2% to 18,293. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2014 included: petroleum and petroleum products, down 21.7% to 12,871 carloads; metallic ores and metals, down 19% to 22,871 carloads; and coal, down 14.4% to 95,894 carloads.

North American rail volume for the week ending Oct. 31, 2015 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 372,471 carloads, down 8.8% compared with the same week last year, and 344,512 intermodal units, down 2.2% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America, was 716,983 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.8%. North American rail volume for the first 43 weeks of 2015 was 30,612,532 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.2% compared with 2014.

Canadian railroads reported 78,028 carloads for the week, down 10.4%, and 63,344 intermodal units, up 5.1% compared with the same week in 2014. For the first 43 weeks of 2015, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 5,925,389 carloads, containers and trailers, a decrease of 0.7% to last year.

Mexican railroads reported 15,116 carloads for the week, down 7.7% compared with the same week last year, and 10,788 intermodal units, down 11.1%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 43 weeks of 2015 was 1,175,410 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 1.5% from the same point last year.

The AAR also reported U.S. Class I railroads originated 101,167 carloads of crude oil in the third quarter of 2015, down 9,901 carloads or 8.9% from second-quarter 2015 and down 31,090 carloads or 23.5% from third-quarter 2014.

Tags: , ,