Posts Tagged ‘freight statistics’

Carload, Intermodal Traffic Rose in March

April 5, 2018

U.S. railroads posted increases in carload and intermodal traffic in March, with about half of the categories tracked by the Association of American Railroads posting gains.

AAR said the railroads originated 1,050,653 carloads in March 2018, an increase of 3.6 percent, or 36,157 carloads, from March 2017.

U.S. railroads also originated 1,082,239 containers and trailers in March 2018, up 6.5 percent, or 66,151 units, from the same month last year.

The combined carload and intermodal originations in March 2018 were 2,132,892, up 5 percent, or 102,308 carloads and intermodal units from March 2017.

Commodities posting increases during March when compared with the same month a year ago included coal, up 24,867 carloads or 7.9 percent; chemicals, up 7,492 carloads or 5.9 percent; and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 7,124 carloads or 8 percent.

Seeing declines were non-metallic minerals, down 3,563 carloads or 19.5 percent; motor vehicles and parts, down 2,257 carloads or 3.2 percent; and coke, down 1,423 carloads or 8.1 percent.

“Railroads are a derived-demand industry,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray in a news release.

“Their level of business depends to a large degree on what’s happening elsewhere in the economy. There’s always some economic uncertainty — today that involves, among other things, trade relations, commodity prices, and what the Fed will do about interest rates — but economic signals today are mostly positive. Rail traffic in March was largely positive, too, at least in terms of traffic segments that are most sensitive to what’s going on in the economy.”

Excluding coal, carloads were up 11,290 carloads, or 1.6 percent, in March 2018 when compared to March 2017. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 11,042 carloads, or 1.8 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first three months of 2018 have been 3,296,199 carloads, down 0.3 percent, or 9,027 carloads, from the same period last year; and 3,496,381 intermodal units, up 5.5 percent, or 181,304 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 13 weeks of 2018 was 6,792,580 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 2.6 percent compared to last year.


Intermodal Continued to Grow in February

March 9, 2018

Intermodal traffic continues to grow at U.S. Railroads, the Association of American Railroads reported this week.

The railroads during February carried 1,104,001 containers and trailers, an increase of 6.9 percent over February 2017’s volume.

The AAR said that during February carload volume slipped 0.3 percent to 1,028,141 units.

For the month U.S. railroads reported a combined 2,132,142 carloads and intermodal units, marking a 3.3 percent increase over last year.

Nine of the 20 carload commodities that AAR tracks each month logged carload gains in February compared with the same month in 2017. Those included metallic ores, up 19.4 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel shipments, up 7.5 percent; and chemicals, up 3.4 percent.

Commodities that saw declines included coal, down 1.7 percent; grain, down 5.3 percent; and motor vehicles and parts, down 4.5 percent.

“Rail carloads in February, like in many other recent months, were held back by declines in coal, grain, and motor vehicles,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a news release. “Declines in those categories are unfortunate, but they don’t reflect general weakness in the economy. Excluding them, carloads were up a reasonably solid 2.1 percent in February.”

Gray said February was the best month ever for carloads of chemicals and the second best for intermodal volume.

“While these are good signs for the broader economy going forward, they are potentially compromised by the uncertainty created by recent developments in trade policy,” he said.

Railroads Eke Out Traffic Gain in January

February 9, 2018

Although carload fell 3.4 percent in January, overall traffic was up 0.1 percent due in part to increases in intermodal volume the Association for American Ralroads reported.

Last month U.S. railroads moved 1,217,405 carloads and 1,310,141 containers and trailers. The latter was an increase of 3.5 percent when compared with January 2017.

Eight of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by AAR posted gains compared with a year ago.

This included crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 3,498 carloads or 3.8 percent; petroleum and petroleum products, up 3,196 carloads or 6.4 percent; and lumber and wood products, up 1,167 carloads or 8 percent.

Carload commodity categories that fell included coal, down 25,083 carloads or 5.8 percent; motor vehicles and parts, down 8,372 carloads or 10.1 percent; and grain, down 6,917 carloads or 5.8 percent.

“Recent stock market gyrations remind all of us that, when it comes to things related to the economy, conditions can change quickly. For now, though, rail volumes are not flashing strong warning signs,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a statement.

Gray cited gains in intermodal volume, saying it has picked up where it left off last year when it set a record

“To be sure, we could do without January’s sharp fall in motor vehicle and coal carloads, among others, but we’re hopeful that the basic economy remains on a firm footing and that the recent turmoil in the markets simply represents an adjustment to potential interest rate changes,” he said.

Excluding coal, carloads were down 17,348 carloads, or 2.1 percent, in January 2018 from January 2017. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 10,431 carloads, or 1.5 percent.

So far this year, CSX’s total volume is down 6.2 percent, with carloads off 10 percent and intermodal units down 1.2 percent, the AAR said.

Norfolk Southern saw its traffic dip just 0.5 percent in January, while its intermodal traffic grew 6 percent.

Intermodal Traffic Did Well in August

September 7, 2017

August was a banner month for intermodal traffic.

The Association of American Railroads said U.S. railroads posted a monthly record by originating 1,401,081 containers and trailers, a gain of 5.6 percent when compared with August 2016.

Overall, the railroads originated 1,343,405 carloads, which was down 0.3 percent. Combined carload and intermodal originations were 2,744,486 units, up 2.6 percent.

For the month, seven of the 20 carload commodity categories that the AAR tracks posted gains compared with August 2016.

These included coal, 5.8 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, 12.1 percent, and metallic ores, 16.1 percent.

Posting declines were grain, 20.4 percent; petroleum and petroleum products, 15.8 percent, and motor vehicles and parts, 11.2 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads were down 3.4 percent in August compared with the same month in 2016. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 0.8 percent.

Total U.S. traffic for the first eight months of 2017 has been 9,062,097 carloads, up 4.5 percent compared with 2016, and 9,352,108 intermodal units, up 3.4 percent.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 35 weeks of 2017 has been 18,414,205 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 4 percent.

“Rail traffic in August was a mixed bag, with gains in coal and sand, among other commodities, offset by declines in grain, autos, and crude oil,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “These results reflect the fact that different rail customer segments are always facing different market dynamics, including, during the last week of August, Hurricane Harvey.”

G&W Carload Traffic Fell in 2nd Quarter

July 17, 2017

Genesee & Wyoming reported a decrease of 0.1 percent in carload traffic in the second quarter of 2017. However, total traffic was up by 14.6 percent worldwide.

G&W’s same-railroad second quarter traffic was 705,940 carloads, a decline of 976 carloads when compared with the second quarter of 2016.

Total traffic was 810,082 carloads, an increase of 103,166 carloads in the second quarter, which included operations in North America, Australia and Europe.

Across its U.S. operations, G&W saw major losses with metallic ore traffic dropping 30.6 percent. Petroleum products fell by 6.1 percent, metals by 3.3 percent, and pulp and paper by 3.2 percent.

Traffic increases came in waste, 24.9 percent; autos and auto parts, 12.7 percent; and minerals and stone, 9.4 percent.

G&W’s same-railroad traffic in June 2017 was 242,763 carloads, a decline of 1,434 carloads (0.6 percent) compared with June 2016.

In the past year, G&W has acquired two short-line railroad companies, the Providence & Worcester and the Heart of Georgia, the latter having been acquired on May 31, 2017.

Coal Posts Impressive February Gains

March 3, 2017

Fueled by rising coal business, U.S. freight traffic in February rose 4.2 percent when compared with February 2016.

AARBut the story of the month was a 19.2 percent increase in coal traffic. The story, though, was not quite it might seem at first glance.

“The 19.2 percent increase in coal carloads in February 2017 was the highest percentage gain for coal since sometime before 1988, when our current record series began,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. ”While it’s an impressive gain, February 2017 was, unfortunately, also the second worst February in absolute terms for coal since sometime before 1988.”

Gray said the coal story is representative of the challenges that railroads are facing with changing markets.

“However, these same market changes are offering new opportunities,” he said in a statement. “Over the past 15 years, the industry has worked hard to create a solid foundation to exploit these opportunities.”

February 2017 carload traffic was 044,040, up 6.7 percent or 65,141 carloads from February 2016.

That same month railroads also originated 1,068,439 containers and trailers, up 1.8 percent or 19,350 units from the same month last year.

For February 2017, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,112,479, up 4.2 percent or 84,491 carloads and intermodal units from February 2016.

Eleven of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with February 2016.

These included: coal, up 19.2 percent or 57,589 carloads; crushed stone, gravel, and sand, up 13.1 percent or 10,091 carloads; and primary metal products, up 6.8 percent or 2,357 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in February 2017 from February 2016 included: petroleum and petroleum products, down 12.4 percent or 5,543 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, down 4.8 percent or 3,746; carloads and metallic ores, down 19.1 percent or 2,793 carloads.

Excluding coal, carloads were up 1.1 percent or 7,552 carloads in February 2017 from February 2016.

Indiana Port Sets Quarterly Record

February 7, 2017

The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon has reported handling a record 2.5 million tons of cargo during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Ports of IndianaThat broke the record set in the fourth quarter of 2014. In a news release, the port said its fourth quarter 2016 volume was 44 percent higher than the previous record and is the highest quarterly volume for any port in Ports of Indiana history.

During 2016, the port handled 6.4 million tons of cargo, an increase of 34 percent from its previous five-year average and its second highest annual tonnage following the record 6.6 million tons in 2015.

The principal cargoes handled in 2016 were coal, grain, soy products, ethanol, dried distiller grains, minerals and fertilizer.

Salt shipments rose 32 percent, while talc and barite — two minerals used in the manufacturing of plastics and other products —were up a combined 23 percent.

In another development, two port companies announced or completed major expansions in 2016.

Consolidated Grain and Barge said it would invest more than $31 million to increase its soybean processing capabilities.

Valero Renewable Fuels, a producer of ethanol and a subsidiary of Valero Energy, completed a multi-million dollar project that provided new corn receiving equipment and a new distiller grain dryer system.

Intermodal Rose 1% in 4th Quarter of 2016

February 7, 2017

Intermodal freight volumes rose 1 percent during the fourth quarter of 2016 when compared with the same period in 2015, the Intermodal Association of North America said.

IANAIANA said in a news release that there were 4.35 million shipments during the fourth quarter, an improvement that occurred “despite an ongoing freight recession that permeated the transportation industry and resulted in lower intermodal volumes during the second and third quarters.”

Shipment declines during the second and fourth quarters resulted in a 2.1 percent decline in intermodal volumes in 2016 when compared with 2015. The total of 17.1 million shipments was the first full-year decline since 2008.

Domestic containers posted a 3.4 percent increase in the quarter. International shipments rose 0.6 percent. Declines continued in the trailer segment, which were down 9.2 percent in the quarter.

The seven highest-density trade corridors — which account for 63.3 percent of total intermodal volume — rose a collective 1.8 percent during the fourth quarter.

The Midwest-Northwest and Northeast-Midwest lanes saw the largest fourth quarter increases at 4.3 percent and 4.2 percent, respectively. Midwest-Southwest volumes, which were the highest, grew 1.4 percent. The South Central-Southwest lane, the only major lane to post a decline, fell 4.4 percent on container losses.