The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported weekly U.S. rail traffic, as well as volumes for August 2016.
Carload traffic in August totaled 1,347,989 carloads, down 6.6 percent or 95,341 carloads from August 2015. U.S. railroads also originated 1,327,274 containers and trailers in August 2016, down 4.8 percent or 66,889 units from the same month last year. For August 2016, combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 2,675,263 down 5.7 percent or 162,230 carloads and intermodal units from August 2015.
In August 2016, eight of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with August 2015. These included: grain, up 24.7 percent or 23,857 carloads; waste and nonferrous scrap, up 25.4 percent or 4,182 carloads; and chemicals, up 1.1 percent or 1,699 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in August 2016 from August 2015 included: coal, down 16.1 percent or 86,638 carloads; petroleum and petroleum products, down 25.1 percent or 17,650 carloads; and crushed stone, gravel and sand, down 6.9 percent or 8,913 carloads.
Excluding coal, carloads were down 1 percent or 8,703 carloads in August 2016 from August 2015.
Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 35 weeks of 2016 was 8,668,572 carloads, down 11.1 percent or 1,081,450 carloads, while intermodal containers and trailers were 9,042,678 units, down 3.1 percent or 288,427 containers and trailers when compared to the same period in 2015. For the first eight months of 2016, total rail traffic volume in the United States was 17,711,250 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.2 percent or 1,369,877 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year.
"While August showed improvements in some categories, the big story in terms of rail traffic last month was the continuing surge in carloads of grain," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. "Railroads, along with barges and trucks, are a critical part of the grain logistical chain. The fact that this chain generally functions smoothly is a testament to the tremendous efforts that transportation providers, including railroads, put forth in support of their grain-related customers."
Week Ending September 3, 2016
Total U.S weekly rail traffic for the week ending September 3, 2016 was 538,826 carloads and intermodal units, down 5 percent compared with the same week last year.
Total carloads for the week ending September 3 were 273,117 carloads, down 4.9 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 265,709 containers and trailers, down 5 percent compared to 2015.
Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2015. They included grain, up 30.2 percent to 24,455 carloads; miscellaneous carloads, up 24.1 percent to 11,425 carloads; and motor vehicles and parts, up 5.5 percent to 19,557 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2015 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 24.4 percent to 10,770 carloads; coal, down 16.2 percent to 90,575 carloads; and forest products, down 6.8 percent to 10,631 carloads.
North American rail volume for the week ending September 3, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 362,389 carloads, down 4.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 341,332 intermodal units, down 3.9 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 703,721 carloads and intermodal units, down 4 percent. North American rail volume for the first 35 weeks of 2016 was 23,157,141 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.9 percent compared with 2015.
Canadian railroads reported 75,431 carloads for the week, up 0.4 percent, and 63,715 intermodal units, down 0.4 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 35 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,505,714 carloads, containers and trailers, down 6.9 percent.
Mexican railroads reported 13,841 carloads for the week, down 10.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,908 intermodal units, up 5.2 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 35 weeks of 2016 was 940,177 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.2 percent from the same point last year.