U.S. Rail Traffic Still Not Improving

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 August 17, 2019, and, if you’ve been paying attention recently, the results really shouldn’t come as a surprise.

For this week—and as we’ve seen become a recurring theme recently—total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 537,617 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.2% compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ended August 17 were 264,564 carloads, down 4.9% compared with the same week in 2018, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 273,053 containers and trailers, down 5.4% compared to 2018.

Two of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2018. They were petroleum and petroleum products, up 1,115 carloads, to 12,004; and chemicals, up 696 carloads, to 33,233. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2018 included commodities such as coal, down 7,607 carloads, to 85,454; grain, down 3,458 carloads, to 19,840; and nonmetallic minerals, down 1,349 carloads, to 37,905.

For the first 33 weeks of 2019, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 8,342,076 carloads, down 3.3% from the same point last year; and 8,783,643 intermodal units, down 3.8% from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 33 weeks of 2019 was 17,125,719 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 3.5% compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending August 17, 2019, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 366,217 carloads, down 4.1% compared with the same week last year, and 368,054 intermodal units, down 3.5% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 734,271 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.8%. North American rail volume for the first 33 weeks of 2019 was 23,355,498 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.4% compared with 2018.

Canadian railroads reported 81,162 carloads for the week, down 1.4%, and 76,265 intermodal units, up 3.8% compared with the same week in 2018. For the first 33 weeks of 2019, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,994,334 carloads, containers and trailers, up 2%.

Mexican railroads reported 20,491 carloads for the week, down 2.9% compared with the same week last year, and 18,736 intermodal units, down 2%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 33 weeks of 2019 was 1,235,445 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 3.3% from the same point last year.

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