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U.S. railroads logged a 3.2 percent decrease in carload and intermodal traffic last month compared with October 2015, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported yesterday.Carload traffic for the month totaled 1,066,994 units, down 5.1 percent, while intermodal traffic totaled 1,075,820 containers and trailers, down 1.2 percent compared with a year ago. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal traffic fell 3.2 percent to 2,142,814 carloads and intermodal units from October 2015.Last month, four of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month posted gains compared with October 2015. They included grain, up 6 percent or 6,014 units; waste and nonferrous scrap, up 9.9 percent or 1,349 units; and miscellaneous, up 2.2 percent or 535 units.Commodities that logged decreases in carload activity for the month included coal, down 7.6 percent or 29,621 units; petroleum and petroleum products, down 24 percent or 12,849 units; and chemicals, down 3.1 percent or 3,660 units.Excluding coal, carloads fell 3.8 percent last month compared with a year ago."Railroads continue to face a difficult macroeconomic environment that's negatively impacting their traffic volume," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John Gray in a press release. "Grain is doing well and autos are hanging on, but many other commodity categories that depend on a vibrant industrial sector — things like steel, petroleum products, and crushed stone — are not doing as well as railroads would like," Gray added. "Hopefully that changes in the months ahead."
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