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Rail traffic for April and week ending April 28, 2018

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending April 28, 2018, as well as volumes for April 2018.

U.S. railroads originated 1,051,026 carloads in April 2018, up 3.3 percent, or 34,020 carloads, from April 2017. U.S. railroads also 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.

In April 2018, 15 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with April 2017. These included: crushed stone, sand & 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 & nonferrous scrap, down 1,056 carloads or 7.1 percent; and primary forest products, down 651 carloads or 14.6 percent.

“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 ten years” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray.  “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.”

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.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first four months of 2018 was 4,347,225 carloads, up 0.6 percent, or 24,993 carloads, from the same period last year; and 4,595,381 intermodal units, up 5.8 percent, or 250,934 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 17 weeks of 2018 was 8,942,606 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.2 percent compared to last year.

Week ending April 28, 2018

Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 551,498 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.9 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending April 28 were 266,453 carloads, up 3.7 percent compared with the same week in 2017, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 285,045 containers and trailers, up 8.1 percent compared to 2017.

Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2017. They included coal, up 3,183 carloads, to 78,970; nonmetallic minerals, up 1,866 carloads, to 41,113; and petroleum and petroleum products, up 1,265 carloads, to 10,893. One commodity group posted a decrease compared with the same week in 2017: metallic ores and metals, down 199 carloads, to 24,454.

North American rail volume for the week ending April 28, 2018, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 372,452 carloads, up 2.7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 370,863 intermodal units, up 6.3 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 743,315 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.5 percent. North American rail volume for the first 17 weeks of 2018 was 12,053,949 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.8 percent compared with 2017.

Canadian railroads reported 84,115 carloads for the week, up 1.1 percent, and 68,512 intermodal units, up 3.5 percent compared with the same week in 2017. For the first 17 weeks of 2018, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,465,091 carloads, containers and trailers, up 2.7 percent.

Mexican railroads reported 21,884 carloads for the week and 17,306 intermodal units. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 17 weeks of 2018 was 646,252 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers.
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