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U.S. railroads' combined carload and intermodal traffic dropped 6.3 percent to 2,540,265 units in June compared with the same month a year ago, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) announced yesterday.Carload traffic last month fell 7 percent to 1,245,025 units, while intermodal volume fell 5.6 percent to 1,295,240 containers and trailers compared with June 2015, AAR reported in a press release.For the first six months of 2016, total U.S. rail traffic volume decreased 7.4 percent to 13,008,219 carloads and intermodal units compared with traffic volume during the same period a year ago. "Rail traffic remains relatively weak, with slightly better coal volumes in June offset by continued weakness in intermodal caused in part by an inventory overhang and global economic uncertainty," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John Gray. "Because current economic indicators are presenting a mixed picture, it's not clear if railroads should be pessimistic or cautiously optimistic about the near- to medium term." Six of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR posted gains in June, including grain, up 13.8 percent or 12,982 carloads; miscellaneous carloads, up 17 percent or 4,569 carloads; and waste and nonferrous scrap, up 16.4 percent or 2,907 carloads.Commodities that logged decreases for the month were led by petroleum and petroleum products, which were fell 22.2 percent or 15,415 carloads. Other commodities that logged lower volumes included coal, down 16.4 percent or 73,194 carloads; and crushed stone, gravel and sand, down 6.6 percent or 7,727 carloads.Excluding coal, carloads were down 2.3 percent or 20,493 carloads in June 2016 from June 2015.
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