U.S. Freight Traffic Up 3.3% in April

Freight traffic on U.S. railroads was up 3.3 percent in April when compared to the same month a year ago the Association of American Railroads reported on Wednesday.

The railroads originated 1,051,026 carloads last month, which was 34,020 more carloads than April 2017.

AAR reported that the railroads originated 1,099,000 containers and trailers in April 2018, up 6.8 percent, or 69,630 units, from the same month last year.

Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in April 2018 were 2,150,026, up 5.1 percent, or 103,650 carloads and intermodal units from April 2017.

“Total U.S. rail traffic so far this year is a shade below where it was in 2015, but otherwise is higher than it’s been in the last 10 years,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray in a statement.

“Additionally, 15 of the 20 commodity categories we track had higher carloads in April 2018 than in April 2017, the most since January 2015. That’s good news for railroads and good news for the economy.”

Fifteen of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw gains compared with April 2017.

These included crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 8,466 carloads or 8.6 percent; coal, up 7,337 carloads or 2.4 percent; and grain, up 5,305 carloads or 5.7 percent.

Commodities that saw declines in April 2018 from April 2017 included nonmetallic minerals, down 2,513 carloads or 13 percent; waste and nonferrous scrap, down 1,056 carloads or 7.1 percent; and primary forest products, down 651 carloads or 14.6 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads were up 26,683 carloads, or 3.8 percent, in April 2018 from April 2017. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 21,378 carloads, or 3.5 percent.

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