Rail Traffic Drops 6.1% Year-Over-Year in Week Ended June 1 as Coal Leads Decline

Rail traffic in the US fell 6.1% year-over-year in the seven days that ended on June 1, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Volume totaled 478,679 carloads and intermodal units last week, the AAR said on Wednesday. Traffic fell 5.8% from the same week the previous year to 237,512 carloads while intermodal units fell 6.4% to 241,167, the association said.

Two of the 10 commodity groups posted an increase from the same week in 2018. Petroleum and petroleum products rose 2,168 carloads to 12,989 while chemicals rose 395 carloads to 31,508. Coal fell 5,533 carloads to 70,737 while metallic ores and metals fell 3,505 carloads to 21,100. Nonmetallic minerals fell 3,326 carloads to 33,073.

Since the start of the year, US railroads reported volume of 5.53 million carloads, down 2.4% year-over-year, and 5.85 million intermodal units, down 2.4%. Traffic in the first 22 weeks of the year was down 2.4% versus last year at 11.38 million carloads and intermodal units.

North American carload volume last week fell 3.2% year-over-year to 341,947 while intermodal traffic lost 4.5% to 325,310 trailers and containers. Combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 667,257 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.8%.

North American rail volume since the start of the year was down 1.6% year-over-year to 15.48 million carloads and intermodal units, the association said.

Canadian rail traffic totaled 83,265 carloads last week, up 4% from the year before, and 66,713 intermodal units, up 1.5%. In the first 22 weeks of 2019, Canadian railroads said cumulative rail traffic totaled 3.3 million carloads, containers and trailers, a 2.2% increase year-over-year.

Mexican railroads reported 21,170 carloads for the week, down 0.3% versus the same week in 2018, and 17,430 containers and trailers, a 1.4% increase. Cumulative volume since the start of the year was 803,859 carloads and intermodal units, a 4.4% drop from last year, the AAR said.

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