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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. freight-rail volume decline continued in Week 51


U.S. freight-rail traffic fell 10.5 percent to 507,589 carloads and intermodal units during the week ending Dec. 21 compared with the same week last year, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total carloads for the week tumbled 11.5 percent to 245,048 units, while intermodal volume declined 9.5 percent to 262,541 containers and trailers.

Just two of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis logged increases. They were petroleum and petroleum products, up 711 carloads, to 14,119; and miscellaneous carloads, up 413 carloads, to 9,886.

Commodity groups that posted decreases during the week included coal, down 21,782 carloads, to 72,032; chemicals, down 2,739 carloads, to 32,380; and nonmetallic minerals, down 2,666 carloads, to 30,144.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 85,789 carloads for the week, down 2.6 percent, and 67,940 intermodal units, down 5.2 percent compared with the same week in 2018. Mexican railroads reported 19,419 carloads for the week, down 7.2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 18,085 intermodal units, up 1.7 percent.

For the first 51 weeks of 2019 versus the same period in 2018:
• U.S. railroads logged 26,331,246 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.9 percent;
• Canadian railroads posted 7,706,077 carloads, containers and trailers, down 0.4 percent;
• Mexican railroads reported 1,925,976 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.9 percent; and
• North American freight rail volume was 35,963,299 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.9 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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