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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. freight railroads log another traffic decline


U.S. freight railroads logged 513,147 carloads and intermodal units during the week ending Oct. 26, down 8.8 percent compared with the same week last year, Association of American Railroads (AAR) data shows.

Total carload traffic for the week plunged 9.4 percent to 243,321 units, while intermodal volume dropped 8.3 percent to 269,826 containers and trailers.

None of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis showed any growth during Week 43. For example, coal was down 14,797 carloads to 73,184; grain fell down 2,152 carloads to 21,135; and metallic ores and metals dropped 2,064 carloads, to 21,291.

Meanwhile, Canadian and Mexican railroads also reported traffic declines during the week.

Canadian railroads posted 81,902 carloads, down 7.9 percent, and 71,105 intermodal units, down 3.6 percent. Mexican railroads logged 19,573 carloads for the week, down 1.1 percent, and 19,372 intermodal units, down 5.6 percent.

For the first 43 weeks of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018:
• U.S. railroads reported a combined 22,300,581 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.3 percent;
• Canadian railroads reported a combined 6,523,922 carloads, containers and trailers, up 0.7 percent; and
• Mexican railroads reported a combined 1,625,137 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.8 percent.

North American rail volume for the 43-week period was 30,449,640 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.2 percent compared with 2018.