U.S. Rail Carloadings Down 5.1% in October

U.S. rail carloadings fell 5.1 percent in October 2016 to 1,066,994 carloads, a decline of 57,800 carloads from October 2015.

AARAs has been the case all year, falling coal traffic had a disproportionate effect on freight traffic.

Take away coal and the carloads  in October 2016 were down 3.8 percent or 28,179 carloads, from October 2015.

Four of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month posted gains compared with October 2015.

Grain was up 6 percent or 6,014 carloads; waste and nonferrous scrap, up 9.9 percent or 1,349 carloads; and miscellaneous carloads, up 2.2 percent or 535 carloads.

Declines for the period were posted by coal, down 7.6 percent or 29,621 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 24 percent or 12,849 carloads; and chemicals, down 3.1 percent or 3,660 carloads.

U.S. railroads originated 1,075,820 containers and trailers in October 2016, down 1.2 percent or 13,096 units in October 2015.

The combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,142,814, down 3.2 percent or 70,896 carloads and intermodal units from October 2015.

In a statement, AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray said railroads continue to be hindered by an adverse macroeconomic environment.

“Grain is doing well and autos are hanging on, but many other commodity categories that depend on a vibrant industrial sector—things like steel, petroleum products, and crushed stone—are not doing as well as railroads would like,” Gray said. “Hopefully, that changes in the months ahead.”

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 43 weeks of 2016 was 10,804,210 carloads, down 10 percent or 1,200,705 carloads, while intermodal containers and trailers were 11,159,432 units, down 3 percent or 346,715 containers and trailers when compared to the same period in 2015.

For the first 10 months of 2016, total U.S. rail traffic volume was 21,963,642 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.6 percent or 1,547,420 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year.

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