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Weekly U.S. rail traffic fell for the first time in 2019, with railroads logging a combined 522,026 carloads and intermodal units during the week ending Jan. 26, down 4 percent compared with the same week a year ago, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.
Total carloads for the week dropped 4.7 percent to 248,937 units, while intermodal volume dipped 3.3 percent to 273,089 containers and trailers compared with 2018 levels.
Only two of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR follows on a weekly basis posted increases: petroleum and petroleum products, up 2,121 carloads to 13,627, and chemicals, up 297 carloads to 31,190.
Commodity groups that logged decreases included coal, down 4,400 carloads to 82,471; miscellaneous freight, down 2,695 carloads to 8,246; and nonmetallic minerals, down 2,503 carloads to 30,172.
Despite the traffic decline in the year's fourth week, U.S. rail volume for the first four weeks of 2019 rose 3.9 percent year over year to 2,056,367 carloads and intermodal units.
Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 80,560 carloads for Week 4, up 2.2 percent, and 66,650 intermodal units, down 1.1 percent, compared with the same week a year ago. For the first four weeks of the year, Canadian railroads logged cumulative rail traffic of 590,626 carloads and intermodal units, up 8.3 percent.
Also during Week 4, Mexican railroads reported 17,644 carloads, down 19.3 percent, and 12,641 intermodal units, down 31.5 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first four weeks of 2019 was 133,186 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 10.6 percent from the same point last year.