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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. freight-rail traffic slump continues


U.S. railroads hauled 485,282 carloads and intermodal units during the week ending Jan. 25, a 6.7 percent decrease in traffic compared with the same week in 2019, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases. They included metallic ores and metals, up 1,064 carloads to 20,918; grain, up 288 carloads to 21,723; and miscellaneous carloads, up 234 carloads to 8,474.

Commodity groups that logged decreases during the week included coal, down 14,366 carloads to 68,295; nonmetallic minerals, down 2,260 carloads to 27,906; and motor vehicles and parts, down 1,245 carloads to 14,482.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads posted 80,758 carloads for the week, down 0.4 percent, and 68,925 intermodal units, up 3.6 percent. Mexican railroads reported 20,468 carloads for the week, up 14.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 19,247 intermodal units, up 52.6 percent.

For the first four weeks of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019:
• U.S. railroads reported combined traffic of 1,900,652 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.6 percent;
• Canadian railroads reported cumulative traffic of 561,844 carloads, containers and trailers, down 5 percent;
• Mexican railroads reported cumulative traffic of 142,260 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 7.3 percent; and
• North American railroads reported a combined volume of 2,604,756 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.3 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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