Freight Volume Fell 8.8% in July

Freight carload volume fell 8.8 percent in July 2016 when compared with the same month in 2015, the Association of American Railroad reported.

AARCarload traffic in July totaled 1,025,367 carloads, a decline of 99,530 carloads from July 2015. AAR said U.S. railroads originated 1,002,401 containers and trailers in July 2016, down 6.9 percent or 74,482 units from the same month last year.

During July 2016, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,027,768, down 7.9 percent or 174,012 carloads and intermodal units from July 2015.

AAR’s July 2016 report found that four of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with July 2015.

Posting increases were grain, up 15.3 percent or 12,641 carloads; waste and nonferrous scrap, up 25.9 percent or 3,400 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, up 12.9 percent or 2,880 carloads.

Commodities that saw declines in July 2016 included: coal, down 17.5 percent or 70,479 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 22 percent or 11,926 carloads; and crushed stone, gravel and sand, down 11.6 percent or 11,765 carloads.

Taking coal out of the mix, AAR said July 2016 carloads were down 4 percent or 29,051 carloads from July 2015.

“Rail traffic continues to reflect the uncertainty rail customers face in a challenging economic environment,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray.

Gray said that rail intermodal remains below 2015 levels while carloads showed a small improvement in coal and a bit of an improvement in grain.

“For the present, railroads are focused on providing safe and efficient service to their customers, while watching to see if the increase in consumer spending in the second quarter will lead to additional Gross Domestic Product growth in the second half of the year,” Gray said.

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