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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends
AAR: U.S. rail traffic fell 4.8 percent in September
U.S. railroads reported carload and intermodal traffic declined 4.8 percent last month compared with traffic in September 2015, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported yesterday.
Combined, carload and intermodal units were 2,109,578 for the month. Carload traffic fell 5.4 percent to 1,068,644 units, while intermodal decreased 4.2 percent to 1,040,934 containers and trailers in September compared with year-ago traffic numbers, according to an AAR press release.
During the month, nine of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month posted gains compared with a year ago. They included: grain, up 11.2 percent or 9,860 carloads; waste and nonferrous scrap, up 28.8 percent or 3,725 carloads; and nonmetallic minerals, up 7.5 percent or 1,414 carloads.
Commodities that posted year-over-year decreases for September included: coal, down 13.1 percent or 53,896 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 21.6 percent or 11,810 carloads; and primary metal products, down 9.5 percent or 3,459 carloads.
Excluding coal, carloads were down 1.1 percent or 7,559 carloads in September 2016 from September 2015.
"Rail traffic in September was more of what we have come to expect this year: big declines in energy related products, continued weakness in intermodal and most other export markets, but with some strength in grain," said John Gray, AAR senior vice president of policy and economics.
In many markets, railroads are facing "significant uncertainties," Gray said.
"It isn't helping that rail regulators are seeking to put additional costly regulatory burdens on railroads too," he added. "The inefficiencies and unnecessary costs railroads would incur if regulators succeed would make it that much harder for railroads to meet the needs of their customers and to allow the capital investment necessary to adapt their networks to a changing marketplace."
Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.