The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported weekly U.S. rail traffic, as well as volumes for October 2016.
Carload traffic in October totaled 1,066,994 carloads, down 5.1 percent or 57,800 carloads from October 2015. U.S. railroads also originated 1,075,820 containers and trailers in October 2016, down 1.2 percent or 13,096 units from the same month last year. For October 2016, 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 October 2016, four of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with October 2015. These included: grain, 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. Commodities that saw declines in October 2016 from October 2015 included: 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.
Excluding coal, carloads were down 3.8 percent or 28,179 carloads in October 2016 from October 2015.
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 ten months of 2016, total rail traffic volume in the United States 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.
"Railroads continue to face a difficult macroeconomic environment that's negatively impacting their traffic volume," said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. "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. Hopefully that changes in the months ahead."
Week Ending October 29, 2016
Total U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending October 29, 2016 was 544,997 carloads and intermodal units, down 0.8 percent compared with the same week last year.
Total carloads for the week ending October 29 were 271,576 carloads, down 2.8 percent compared with the same week in 2015, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 273,421 containers and trailers, up 1.3 percent compared to 2015.
North American rail volume for the week ending October 29, 2016, on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 369,829 carloads, down 0.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 346,268 intermodal units, up 0.5 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 716,097 carloads and intermodal units, down 0.1 percent. North American rail volume for the first 43 weeks of 2016 was 28,752,216 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.1 percent compared with 2015.
Canadian railroads reported 82,037 carloads for the week, up 4.9 percent, and 60,892 intermodal units, down 3.8 percent compared with the same week in 2015. For the first 43 weeks of 2016, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 5,628,178 carloads, containers and trailers, down 5.0percent.
Mexican railroads reported 16,216 carloads for the week, up 6.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,955 intermodal units, up 7.2 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 43 weeks of 2016 was 1,160,396 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.2 percent from the same point last year.