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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: Week 21 traffic trends show 'encouraging signs'


U.S. freight railroads logged 428,715 carloads and intermodal units during the week ending May 23, a 19.2 percent decrease compared with the same week last year, Association of American Railroads (AAR) data shows.

Total carloads for the week tumbled 27.5 percent to 190,649 units, while intermodal volume fell 11.2 percent to 238,076 containers and trailers.

Of 20 carload categories, 15 had "modestly higher" loadings during last week than the week before, led by motor vehicles and grain, said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a press release.

In addition, intermodal originations were higher last week than in previous weeks, he said.

"While we can't yet say whether rail traffic and, by extension, the economy, have turned a corner, these are all encouraging signs," said Gray. "As areas across the country begin to reopen after the next several weeks, perhaps we can start looking for light at the end of a rather long tunnel."

Also during the week, Canadian railroads logged 65,535 carloads, down 22.5 percent, and 61,901 intermodal units, down 5.8 percent. Mexican railroads posted 15,926 carloads, down 26 percent, and 13,854 intermodal units, down 23.2 percent.

U.S. and Canadian Class Is reported the following carload volume during the week compared with the same week in 2019: BNSF Railway Co., 71,101 units, down from 97,992; CN, 48,953 units, down from 65,395; Canadian Pacific, 27,008 units, down from 34,559; CSX, 51,383 units, down from 71,498; Kansas City Southern, 11,940 units, down from 14,036; Norfolk Southern Railway, 38,768 units, down from 69,508; and Union Pacific Railroad, 70,311 units, down from 92,070.

For the first 21 weeks of 2020 compared with the same period last year, U.S. railroads reported 9,504,673 carloads and intermodal units, down 12.8 percent; Canadian railroads logged 2,927,865 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.1 percent; and Mexican railroads posted 707,905 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.7 percent.