AAR: Freight traffic now batting .500—which isn’t great

Written by Andrew Corselli, Managing Editor
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Total carloads and half of the 10 carload commodity groups were up year-over-year for the week ended May 18, according to figures released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Building on recent “significantly improved” rail traffic, total carloads for the week ended May 18 were 267,006 carloads, up 2.2% compared with the same week in 2018, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 269,352 containers and trailers, down 5.5% compared to 2018.

Coal, up 5,696 carloads, to 84,256; petroleum and petroleum products, up 2,511 carloads, to 13,165; and chemicals, up 1,794 carloads, to 33,646 were among the five carload commodity groups that posted an increase compared with the same week in 2018.

Continuing on other, more recent trends, however, commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2018 included nonmetallic minerals, down 3,657 carloads, to 37,190; forest products, down 655 carloads, to 9,983; and miscellaneous carloads, down 432 carloads, to 9,422.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 536,358 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.8% compared with the same week last year.

For the first 20 weeks of 2019, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 5,031,359 carloads, down 2.1% from the same point last year; and 5,339,107 intermodal units, down 1.9% from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 20 weeks of 2019 was 10,370,466 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 2% compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ended May 18 on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 373,951 carloads, up 1.9% compared with the same week last year, and 356,816 intermodal units, down 4.3% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 730,767 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.2%. North American rail volume for the first 20 weeks of 2019 was 14,094,277 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.3% compared with 2018.

Canadian railroads reported 85,865 carloads for the week, up 2.7%, and 69,605 intermodal units, down 1.8% compared with the same week in 2018. For the first 20 weeks of 2019, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,997,461 carloads, containers and trailers, up 2.3%.

Mexican railroads reported 21,080 carloads for the week, down 5.2% compared with the same week last year, and 17,859 intermodal units, up 6%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 20 weeks of 2019 was 726,350 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 4.6% from the same point last year.

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