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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. rail traffic slump continued in Week 27


U.S. railroads started July the same way they ended June: a year-over-year decline in carload and intermodal volume.

The railroads logged 448,459 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending July 6, a 7.5 percent decrease compared with the same week last year, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Total carloads for the week were 220,759 units, down 8.2 percent. Total intermodal volume clocked in at 227,700 containers and trailers, down 6.9 percent compared to 2018.

Three of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases. They were grain, up 2,358 carloads to 23,651; petroleum and petroleum products, up 2,083 carloads to 12,347; and miscellaneous carloads, up 517 carloads to 8,520.

Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2018 included coal, down 16,575 carloads to 59,905; nonmetallic minerals, down 3,593 carloads to 31,655; and metallic ores and metals, down 1,510 carloads to 20,578.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads' results for the week were mixed: Carloads fell 0.2 percent to 77,571 units, but intermodal volume rose 3.5 percent to 66,783 containers and trailers.

Mexican railroads also reported mixed results for the week. They reported 21,642 carloads, up 9.2 percent; and 17,168 intermodal units, down 4.8 percent.

For the first 27 weeks of 2019 compared with the same period in 2018:
• U.S. railroads posted combined traffic of 13,924,938 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.2 percent;
• Canadian railroads reported 4,066,016 carloads, containers and trailers, up 2.1 percent; and
• Mexican railroads logged 1,001,909 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 3.5 percent.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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