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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. railroads post traffic decline; Canadian, Mexican railroads post gains in Week 6


While U.S. freight railroads' traffic slump continued during the week ending Feb. 8, Canadian and Mexican railroads reported traffic increases, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

U.S. railroads logged 485,329 carloads and intermodal units for the week, down 6.6 percent compared to the same week last year. The railroads hauled 232,116 carloads, down 4.2 percent, and 253,213 intermodal containers and trailers, down 8.8 percent.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks on a weekly basis posted increases during the week. They included miscellaneous carloads, up 2,404 carloads to 10,900; farm products excluding grain, and food, up 1,205 carloads to 16,256; and chemicals, up 887 carloads to 32,670.

Commodity groups that posted decreases included coal, down 10,686 carloads to 64,996; nonmetallic minerals, down 2,794 carloads to 28,354; and motor vehicles and parts, down 694 carloads to 16,376.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 76,168 carloads for the week, up 6.6 percent, and 62,145 intermodal units, up 0.1 percent compared with the same week in 2019. Mexican railroads logged 19,225 carloads, up 6.7 percent, and 17,231 intermodal units, up 13.8 percent.

For the first six weeks of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019:
• U.S. railroads reported 2,896,142 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.8 percent;
• Canadian railroads reported 858,212 carloads, containers and trailers, down 0.7 percent;
• Mexican railroads reported 220,007 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 12 percent; and
• North American railroads combined reported 3,974,361 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.9 percent.