AAR reports weekly rail traffic for September and week ending October 1, 2016
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported weekly U.S. rail traffic, as well as volumes for September 2016. Carload traffic in September totaled 1,068,644 carloads, down 5.4 percent or 61,455 carloads from September 2015. U.S. railroads also originated 1,040,934 containers and trailers in September 2016, down 4.2 percent or 45,192 units from the same month last year. For September 2016, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,109,578, down 4.8 percent or 106,647 carloads and intermodal units from September 2015.
In September 2016, nine of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with September 2015. These included: grain, up 11.2 percent or 9,860 carloads; waste and nonferrous scrap, up 28.8 percent or 3,725 carloads; and nonmetallic minerals, up 7.5 percent or 1,414 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in September 2016 from September 2015 included: coal, down 13.1 percent or 53,896 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 21.6 percent or 11,810 carloads; and primary metal products, down 9.5 percent or 3,459 carloads.
Excluding coal, carloads were down 1.1 percent or 7,559 carloads in September 2016 from September 2015.
Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 36 weeks of 2016 was 9,737,216 carloads, down 10.5 percent or 1,142,905 carloads, while intermodal containers and trailers were 10,083,612 units, down 3.2 percent or 333,619 containers and trailers when compared to the same period in 2015. For the first nine months of 2016, total rail traffic volume in the United States was 19,820,828 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.9 percent or 1,476,524 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year.
"Rail traffic in September was more of what we have come to expect this year: big declines in energy related products, continued weakness in intermodal and most other export markets, but with some strength in grain," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. "The fact is, in many of their markets, railroads are facing significant market uncertainties. It isn't helping that rail regulators are seeking to put additional costly regulatory burdens on railroads too. The inefficiencies and unnecessary costs railroads would incur if regulators succeed would make it that much harder for railroads to meet the needs of their customers and to allow the capital investment necessary to adapt their networks to a changing marketplace."
Week Ending October 1, 2016
Total U.S weekly rail traffic for the week ending October 1, 2016 was 549,171 carloads and intermodal units, down 4 percent compared with the same week last year.
Total carloads for the week ending October 1 were 277,157 carloads, down 4.4 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 272,014 containers and trailers, down 3.5 percent compared to 2015. Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2015. They included grain, up 10.6 percent to 27,626 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, up 6.2 percent to 19,755 carloads; and metallic ores and metals, up 3.8 percent to 22,524 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included miscellaneous carloads, down 25 percent to 9,611 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 22.2 percent to 10,320 carloads; and coal, down 10.3 percent to 91,943 carloads. For the first 39 weeks of 2016, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 9,737,216 carloads, down 10.5 percent from the same point last year; and 10,083,612 intermodal units, down 3.2 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 39 weeks of 2016 was 19,820,828 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 6.9 percent compared to last year. North American rail volume for the week ending October 1, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 377,730 carloads, down 1.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 348,214 intermodal units, down 3 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 725,944 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.2 percent. North American rail volume for the first 39 weeks of 2016 was 25,933,122 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.6 percent compared with 2015. Canadian railroads reported 84,666 carloads for the week, up 9.6 percent, and 62,932 intermodal units, down 2.4 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 39 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 5,062,937 carloads, containers and trailers, down 5.9percent. Mexican railroads reported 15,907 carloads for the week, up 1.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 13,268 intermodal units, up 6.2 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 39 weeks of 2016 was 1,049,357 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.4 percent from the same point last year.