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U.S. freight-rail traffic slide continues into October


U.S. freight-rail traffic volume remained soft during October's first week, with railroads logging a combined 515,061 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.1 percent compared with the same week last year, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total carloads for the week ending Oct. 5 were 247,028 units, down 8.5 percent, while intermodal volume was 268,033 containers and trailers, down 5.8 percent, AAR officials said in a press release.

Only two of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases: Chemicals were up 1,247 carloads to 32,610; and petroleum and petroleum products were up 57 carloads to 12,592.

Commodity groups posting decreases included coal, down 12,097 carloads to 76,970; metallic ores and metals, down 3,271 carloads to 18,898; and grain, down 2,995 carloads to 19,698.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads posted 76,176 carloads for the week, down 11.7 percent, and 72,550 intermodal units, up 3.6 percent for the week. Mexican railroads reported 20,197 carloads for the week, up 2.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 19,463 intermodal units, down 2.8 percent.

For the first 40 weeks of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018:
• U.S. railroads reported 20,769,233 carloads and intermodal units, down 4 percent;
• Canadian railroads reported 6,073,046 carloads, containers and trailers, up 1.2 percent; and
• Mexican railroads reported 1,508,987 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.8 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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