Politics, economy drive rail volumes

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
grain railroad

MFA rail-shuttle grain-loading facility in Hamilton, Mo. YouTube/Union Pacific

The Association of American Railroads reported the latest weekly U.S. rail traffic continued to power ahead, driven by positive economic factors and looming fears over trade.

Volumes for the week ended August 4 were 570,995 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.2% from the same week a year ago.

Traffic was 279,907 carloads, up 3%, while intermodal volume was 291,088 containers and trailers, up 5.4%.

Eight of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2017. They included grain, 20.2%, as exporters hurry shipments to Asia ahead of retaliatory restrictions in the face of more tariffs from the Trump Administration; petroleum and petroleum products, 15.5%, and motor vehicles and parts, 7.1%.

Declining commodities were miscellaneous carloads, 9.2%, and nonmetallic minerals, 1.3%.

For the first 31 weeks of this year, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 8,075,614 carloads, up 1.6%, and 8,552,787 intermodal units, up 6.1%. Total combined U.S. traffic was 16,628,401 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.9% from 2017.

North American rail volume for the week on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 385,427 carloads, up 5.1% on-year, and 383,689 intermodal units, up 5.4%. Total combined weekly traffic was 769,116 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.3%. Volume for the first 31 weeks was 22,412,208 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.6%.

Canadian railroads reported 84,472 carloads for the week, up 10.6%, and 73,212 intermodal units, up 5.8% from a year ago. For the first 31 weeks of 2018, cumulative volume of 4,593,177 carloads, containers and trailers was up 3.9%.

Mexican railroads reported 21,048 carloads for the week, up 14.8%, and 19,389 intermodal units, up 4.1%. Cumulative volume for the first 31 weeks was 1,190,630 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers.

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