AAR: Following optimism, rail traffic up to its old tricks

Written by Andrew Corselli, Managing Editor
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Despite a recent glimmer of hope, rail traffic was down save for three of the 10 carload commodity groups posting year-over-year increases for the week ended May 11, according to figures released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Last week saw a rise in rail action, but this week total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 529,263 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.7% compared with the same week last year. Total carloads for the week ended May 11 were 258,641 carloads, down 3.1% compared with the same week in 2018, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 270,622 containers and trailers, down 4.3% compared to 2018.

The three commodity groups that posted an increase compared with the same week in 2018 were petroleum and petroleum products, up 2,900 carloads, to 13,048; miscellaneous carloads, up 475 carloads, to 9,570; and motor vehicles and parts, up 64 carloads, to 16,986. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2018 included nonmetallic minerals, down 6,963 carloads, to 35,393; metallic ores and metals, down 2,701 carloads, to 21,151; and coal, down 753 carloads, to 80,601.

For the first 19 weeks of 2019, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 4,764,353 carloads, down 2.4% from the same point last year; and 5,069,755 intermodal units, down 1.7% from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 19 weeks of 2019 was 9,834,108 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 2% compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ended May 11 on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 365,380 carloads, down 1.9% compared with the same week last year, and 359,222 intermodal units, down 3.1% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 724,602 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.5%. North American rail volume for the first 19 weeks of 2019 was 13,363,510 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.3% compared with 2018.

Canadian railroads reported 85,195 carloads for the week, up 1.2%, and 69,992 intermodal units, down 1.1% compared with the same week in 2018. For the first 19 weeks of 2019, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,841,991 carloads, containers and trailers, up 2.4%.

Mexican railroads reported 21,544 carloads for the week, up 1.3% compared with the same week last year, and 18,608 intermodal units, up 7.6%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 19 weeks of 2019 was 687,411 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 4.9% from the same point last year.

Categories: Class I, Freight, Intermodal, News, Short Lines & Regionals Tags: , ,