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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: Carload crunch continued for North American railroads in May's first week


U.S. railroads’ prolonged traffic slump carried over into May. For the week ending May 7, they reported 233,047 carloads, down 14.8 percent, and 259,876 intermodal loads, down 6.4 percent compared with volumes from the same 2015 period, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
U.S. roads for the week logged a combined 492,923 carloads and intermodal units, down 10.6 percent year over year. Only three of 10 carload commodity groups posted a gain, including chemicals at 1.6 percent and grain at 0.1 percent. Among the decliners, coal volume tumbled 33.5 percent, petroleum and petroleum products traffic fell 26.4 percent, and metallic ores and metals carloads dropped 12.8 percent.
Through 2016’s first 18 weeks, U.S. railroads registered 4,320,667 carloads, down 14.3 percent, and 4,628,008 intermodal units, down 1.1 percent compared with the same 2015 period.

For the week ending May 7, Canadian railroads reported 65,949 carloads, down 17 percent, and 59,876 intermodal units, down 4.5 percent year over year. Mexican railroads’ carload volume decreased 3.5 percent to 15,694 units, but their intermodal volume rose 1.7 percent to 11,065 units.

Through 18 weeks, Canadian railroads’ cumulative traffic declined 6.9 percent to 2,313,684 units, while Mexican railroads’ cumulative volume dipped 0.3 percent to 478,411 units versus the same 2015 period.

The AAR also reported that U.S. Class Is originated 63,261 carloads of crude oil in the first quarter, a 25.5 percent drop from fourth-quarter 2015’s mark and a 44.1 percent plunge from first-quarter 2015’s total.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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