AAR: Rail traffic showing signs of life

Written by Andrew Corselli, Managing Editor
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In another possible sign that rail traffic is on the rise, total carloads and North American rail volume were slightly up, some international intermodal volume saw rises and four of the 10 carload commodity groups notched year-over-year increases, according to figures released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) for the week ended May 4.

As AAR noted last week, things are improving for rail traffic. Total carloads for the week ended May 4 were 268,559 carloads, up 1% compared with the same week in 2018. However, U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 266,530 containers and trailers, down 4.9% compared to 2018.

Four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2018, such as coal, up 6,712 carloads, to 84,481; petroleum and petroleum products, up 3,367 carloads, to 13,231; and miscellaneous carloads, up 1,295 carloads, to 9,543. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2018 included nonmetallic minerals, down 4,072 carloads, to 37,103; grain, down 2,811 carloads, to 22,287; and motor vehicles and parts, down 2,060 carloads, to 16,491.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 535,089 carloads and intermodal units, down 2% compared with the same week last year.

For the first 18 weeks of 2019, U.S. railroads reported the cumulative volume of 4,505,712 carloads, down 2.3% from the same point last year; and 4,799,133 intermodal units, down 1.6% from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 18 weeks of 2019 was 9,304,845 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 1.9% compared to last year.

Mexican railroads reported 19,423 carloads for the week, down 2.7% compared with the same week last year, and 16,938 intermodal units, up 11.3%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 18 weeks of 2019 was 647,259 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 5.4% from the same point last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending May 4, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 376,890 carloads, up 1.3% compared with the same week last year, and 357,662 intermodal units, down 2.6% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 734,552 carloads and intermodal units, down 0.6%. North American rail volume for the first 18 weeks of 2019 was 12,638,908 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.2% compared with 2018.

Canadian railroads reported 88,908 carloads for the week, up 3.3%, and 74,194 intermodal units, up 3.7% compared with the same week in 2018. For the first 18 weeks of 2019, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,686,804 carloads, containers and trailers, up 2.5%.

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