Most Freight Traffic Gained in June

Rail traffic on U.S. railroads continued to grow in June with 13 of the 20 car load categories monitored by the Association of American Railroads showing gains.

U.S. railroads originated 1,080,769 carloads in June 2018, up 2.0 percent, or 21,098 carloads, from June 2017.

The railroads originated 1,159,973 containers and trailers, an increase of 6.3 percent, or 68,689 units, from the same month last year.

Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in June 2018 were 2,240,742, up 4.2 percent, or 89,787 carloads and intermodal units from June 2017.

“Rail traffic in June was consistent with a healthy economy,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray.

Gray noted it was the third consecutive month in which at least 14 categories posted increase, the the longest such streak since late 2014.

However, Gray warned that a potential trade war could bring change quickly.

Categories posting increases in traffic last included petroleum & petroleum products, up 7,411 carloads or 19.7 percent; crushed stone, sand & gravel, up 7,276 carloads or 7.1 percent; and chemicals, up 4,608 carloads or 3.7 percent.

Commodities that saw declines included coal, down 9,396 carloads or 2.7 percent; nonmetallic minerals, down 3,552 carloads or 18.8 percent; and waste & nonferrous scrap, down 618 carloads or 3.8 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads were up 30,494 carloads, or 4.3 percent, in June 2018 from June 2017. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 25,979 carloads, or 4.2 percent.

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