Rail Traffic Down 4.8% in September

The Association of American Railroads said this week that carload and intermodal traffic on U.S. railroads fell by 4.8 percent in September when compared with traffic in September 2015.

AARCombined carload and intermodal units were 2,109,578 for the month.

Carload traffic fell 5.4 percent to 1,068,644 units, while intermodal decreased 4.2 percent to 1,040,934 containers and trailers.

“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 John Gray, AAR senior vice president of policy and economics.

Gray said that in many markets railroads are facing significant uncertainties.

“It isn’t helping that rail regulators are seeking to put additional costly regulatory burdens on railroads, too,” he said in statement. “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.”

During September, nine of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR showed gains over September 2015.

They 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 fell during September 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.

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