AAR: Excluding coal, August carloads down only 1%

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The Association of American Railroads (AAR) released August monthly figures with this nugget: Exclude coal, and the industry's carloads were down only 1% in August 2016 from August 2015, or 8,703 carloads.

Include coal, and traffic in August totaled 1,347,989 carloads, down 6.6% or 95,341 carloads from August 2015. U.S. railroads also originated 1,327,274 containers and trailers in August 2016, down 4.8% or 66,889 units from the same month last year. For August 2016, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,675,263 down 5.7% or 162,230 carloads and intermodal units from August 2015.

In August 2016, eight of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with August 2015. These included: grain, up 24.7% or 23,857 carloads; waste and nonferrous scrap, up 25.4% or 4,182 carloads; and chemicals, up 1.1% or 1,699 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in August 2016 from August 2015 included: coal, down 16.1% or 86,638 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 25.1% or 17,650 carloads; and crushed stone, gravel and sand, down 6.9% or 8,913 carloads.

”While August showed improvements in some categories, the big story in terms of rail traffic last month was the continuing surge in carloads of grain,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. “Railroads, along with barges and trucks, are a critical part of the grain logistical chain. The fact that this chain generally functions smoothly is a testament to the tremendous efforts that transportation providers, including railroads, put forth in support of their grain-related customers.”

For the week ending Sept. 3, 2016, total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 703,721 carloads and intermodal units, down 4%.

North American rail volume for the week ending September 3, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads, totaled 362,389 carloads, down 4.1% compared with the same week last year, and 341,332 intermodal units, down 3.9% compared with last year.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2015. They included grain, up 30.2% to 24,455 carloads; miscellaneous carloads, up 24.1% to 11,425 carloads; and motor vehicles and parts, up 5.5% to 19,557 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 24.4% to 10,770 carloads; coal, down 16.2% to 90,575 carloads; and forest products, down 6.8% to 10,631 carloads.

Canadian railroads reported 75,431 carloads for the week, up 0.4%, and 63,715 intermodal units, down 0.4% compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 35 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,505,714 carloads, containers and trailers, down 6.9%.

Mexican railroads reported 13,841 carloads for the week, down 10.5% compared with the same week last year, and 11,908 intermodal units, up 5.2%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 35 weeks of 2016 was 940,177 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.2% from the same point last year.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 35 weeks of 2016 was 8,668,572 carloads, down 11.1% or 1,081,450 carloads, while intermodal containers and trailers were 9,042,678 units, down 3.1% or 288,427 containers and trailers when compared to the same period in 2015. North American volume for the first 35 weeks of 2016 was 23,157,141 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.9% compared with 2015. For the first eight months of 2016, total U.S. volume was 17,711,250 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.2% or 1,369,877 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year.

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