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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail traffic down again in Week 24


The trend of declining U.S. rail traffic in 2019 continued in Week 24. Railroads posted 527,989 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending June 15, a 5.4 percent decrease compared with the same week in 2018, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total U.S. carloads for the week were 257,385 units, down 4.6 percent, while intermodal volume was 270,604 containers and trailers, down 6.2 percent.

Only two of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases during the week: Petroleum and petroleum products were up 1,528 carloads to 12,747; and chemicals were up 701 carloads to 32,431.

Commodity groups that posted decreases included coal, down 7,625 carloads to 77,903; nonmetallic minerals, down 2,226 carloads to 37,766; and forest products, down 1,284 carloads to 9,547.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads logged  85,070 carloads for the week, up 0.6 percent, and 70,512 intermodal units, up 1 percent. Mexican railroads posted 21,105 carloads for the week, down 4.7 percent, and 18,250 intermodal units, up 2.9 percent.

For the first 24 weeks of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018:
• U.S. railroads reported total combined traffic of 12,418,199 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.8 percent;
• Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,607,069 carloads, containers and trailers, up 2.1 percent; and
• Mexican railroads reported cumulative volume of 882,795 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 4.2 percent.