It’s the same stuff, different year for U.S. rail traffic. Although our neighbors to the south are singing a different tune.
Association of American Railroads
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ended Jan. 11, 2020, and, for this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 501,624 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.6% compared with the same week last year.
Freight rail traffic has historically been a useful gauge of broader economic activity. The fundamentals of a strong U.S. economy were present in 2019: solid job numbers, strong consumer spending, low interest rates, economic expansion and low inflation. But despite all the bright spots, one thing remained certain last year: trade policy created uncertainty. This uncertainty affected multiple sectors of the economy.
The railroad industry estimates that advances in fault detection technology are preventing more than 700 road failures monthly on the North American system, based on 2019 preliminary statistics. Among the efforts to identify the causes of failure and further understand issues that affect freight rail performance and safety is the Association of American Railroads Asset Health Strategic Initiative (AHSI), data from which is shared with Railinc.
New year, same rail traffic struggles.
It’s no secret that U.S. rail traffic had a rough go in 2019—numbers were down pretty much across the board. And while the Association of American Railroads (AAR) blames a number of offenders, it’s hopeful that 2020 can bring some much-needed certainty to the industry.
Richard Everett (Dick) Briggs, perhaps the most outsized personality in a railroad industry historically chock-a-block with outsized personalities, died Dec. 6, barely three weeks shy of his 81st birthday. He retired as Executive Vice President from the Association of American Railroads (AAR) in 1995.
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ended Dec. 21, 2019, and, for this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 507,589 carloads and intermodal units, down 10.5% compared with the same week last year.
The Clean Water Act (CWA) imposes permitting obligations on “point sources.” Should those obligations apply to railroad cars, which move freely from state to state? The U.S. railroad industry, through the Association of American Railroads, has asked the Surface Transportation Board to take up the question and to rule that any CWA permitting obligations are preempted by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act.
Ian Jefferies, President and CEO of the Association of American Railroads, joined with Marc Brazeau, President and CEO of the Railway Association of Canada (RAC), and Iker de Luisa Plazas, Director General, Asociación Mexicana de Ferrocarriles (AMF), in calling for quick ratification of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).