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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. intermodal traffic decline slowed in Week 29


U.S. freight railroads reported 481,597 carloads and intermodal units during the week ending July 18, an 8.5 percent decrease compared with volumes during the same week in 2019, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Carloads fell 15.7 percent to 214,685 units, while intermodal units dipped just 1.7 percent to 266,912 containers and trailers.

Only one of 10 carload commodity groups logged an increase: Miscellaneous loads rose 212 carloads to 10,782. Commodity group decreases included coal, down 22,464 carloads to 56,202; metallic ores and metals, down 6,659 carloads to 15,766; and nonmetallic minerals, down 6,108 carloads, to 30,986.

Also during the week, Canadian railroads posted 71,949 carloads, down 13.1 percent compared with the same week a year ago, and 67,698 containers and trailers, down 5.1 percent. Mexican railroads reported 25,478 carloads, up 16.7 percent, and 19,983 containers and trailers, up 10 percent.

Individual Class Is reported the following carloads for the week compared with the same week in 2019: BNSF Railway, 78,513 carloads, down from 98,281; CN, 54,671, down from 63,769; Canadian Pacific, 30,1717, down from 33,699; CSX, 60,317, down from 68,487; Kansas City Southern, 13,214, down from 14,370; Norfolk Southern Railway, 50,437, down from 63,404; and Union Pacific Railroad, 80,781, down from 92,374.

For the first 29 weeks of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019:
• U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 13,068,254 carloads, containers and trailers, down 12.8 percent;
• Canadian railroads posted 4,005,349 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.5 percent; and
• Mexican railroads logged 988,157 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.9 percent.