Freight traffic: Batting only .300

Written by Andrew Corselli, Managing Editor
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Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted a year-over-year increase, but, as has been the case for some time now, all other rail traffic has declined, according to figures released on April 10 by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) for the week ended April 6.

The three groups are petroleum and petroleum products, up 1,711 carloads, to 11,610; nonmetallic minerals, up 493 carloads, to 36,059; and motor vehicles and parts, up 434 carloads, to 17,557. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2018 included coal, down 6,417 carloads, to 75,048; grain, down 3,525 carloads, to 21,815; and chemicals, down 1,347 carloads, to 32,358.

Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 510,192 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.8% compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads were 251,417 carloads, down 3.9% compared with the same week in 2018, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 258,775 containers and trailers, down 1.6% compared to 2018.

For the first 14 weeks of 2019, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,447,026 carloads, down 3.1% from the same point last year; and 3,735,232 intermodal units, down 0.6% from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 14 weeks of 2019 was 7,182,258 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 1.8% compared to last year.

North American rail volume on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 360,674 carloads, down 1.3% compared with the same week last year, and 349,699 intermodal units, up 0.2% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 710,373 carloads and intermodal units, down 0.6%. North American rail volume for the first 14 weeks of 2019 was 9,740,079 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.3% compared with 2018.

Canadian railroads reported 88,569 carloads for the week, up 6.4%, and 72,970 intermodal units, up 5.5% compared with the same week in 2018. For the first 14 weeks of 2019, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,050,613 carloads, containers and trailers, up 1.8%.

Mexican railroads reported 20,688 carloads for the week, up 0.5% compared with the same week last year, and 17,954 intermodal units, up 6.4%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 14 weeks of 2019 was 507,208 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 4.9% from the same point last year.

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