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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail traffic falls 10 percent in week 15


U.S. freight-rail volumes for the week ending April 16 continued on what's become a familiar path, as total weekly traffic declined 10 percent to 499,779 carloads and intermodal units compared with the same week in 2015, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

U.S. railroads posted 240,462 total carloads, down 12.9 percent, and intermodal volume of 259,317 containers and trailers, down 7.4 percent compared with 2015.

Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 were coal, down 36.5 percent to 63,090 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 27.7 percent to 10,887 carloads; and forest products, down 7.5 percent to 9,963 carloads.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases for the week. They included miscellaneous carloads, which were up 22.8 percent to 9,823 carloads; grain, up 14.3 percent to 20,784 carloads; and chemicals, up 3.4 percent to 32,355 carloads.

Canadian railroads reported 70,820 carloads for the week, down 13.7 percent, and 59,305 intermodal units, down 4.8 percent compared with the same week in 2015. Mexican railroads reported 15,856 carloads for the week, down 5.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,277 intermodal units, up 0.2 percent.

For the first 15 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads logged cumulative volume of 3,613,417 carloads, down 14.1 percent from the same point last year; and 3,848,344 intermodal units, up 0.2 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the period was 7,461,761 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.3 percent compared with traffic during the same period in 2015.

For the 15-week period, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 1,926,716 carloads, containers and trailers, down 6.2 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 15 weeks of 2016 was 396,255 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 0.6 percent from the same point last year.