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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. utilities build up stockpiles, drive up railroads' coal traffic, AAR says

In June, U.S. utilities’ coal stockpiles totaled 133.5 million tons, a 0.2 percent increase compared with May inventories and the sixth-straight month-over-month gain, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

June’s increase also was the first time in more than 20 years that coal stockpiles rose in that month compared with May inventory levels. In addition, Utilities’ June coal consumption rose 7.9 percent and electricity generation increased 10.3 percent compared with May because of hotter weather.

The jump in coal usage is driving up U.S. railroads’ coal traffic. Through 2006’s first 32 weeks, the roads’ coal volume increased 4.3 percent compared with the same 2005 period.

“Railroads are moving more coal than ever before in history in order to keep pace with the demand from electric utilities,” said AAR President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Hamberger in a prepared statement.

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More News from 8/28/2006