December to Not Remember: Rail Traffic Still Struggling

Written by Andrew Corselli, Managing Editor
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The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ended Dec. 7, 2019, and, for this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 517,130 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.4% compared with the same week last year.

Following the mirage of a gain from two weeks ago, U.S. rail traffic is up to its old tricks as it continues to struggle.

Total carloads for the week ended Dec. 7 were 248,174 carloads, down 7.2% compared with the same week in 2018, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 268,956 containers and trailers, down 11.3% compared to 2018.

Four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2018. They included commodities such as miscellaneous carloads, up 383 carloads, to 11,255; petroleum and petroleum products, up 300 carloads, to 13,595; and nonmetallic minerals, up 181 carloads, to 32,014. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2018 included commodities such as coal, down 16,385 carloads, to 72,402; metallic ores and metals, down 2,296 carloads, to 20,220; and motor vehicles and parts, down 674 carloads, to 17,175.

For the first 49 weeks of 2019, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 12,292,476 carloads, down 4.6% from the same point last year; and 13,010,592 intermodal units, down 4.9% from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 49 weeks of 2019 was 25,303,068 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 4.8% compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ended Dec. 7, 2019, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 353,611 carloads, down 4.6% compared with the same week last year, and 354,349 intermodal units, down 10.4% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 707,960 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.6%. North American rail volume for the first 49 weeks of 2019 was 34,554,715 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.7% compared with 2018.

Canadian railroads reported 85,769 carloads for the week, up 4.4%, and 67,212 intermodal units, down 8% compared with the same week in 2018. For the first 49 weeks of 2019, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 7,401,123 carloads, containers and trailers, down 0.3%.

Mexican railroads reported 19,668 carloads for the week, down 7% compared with the same week last year, and 18,181 intermodal units, down 4.9%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 49 weeks of 2019 was 1,850,524 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.8% from the same point last year.

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