AAR reports rail traffic for week ending November 30, 2019

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
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David C. Lester

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending November 30, 2019, as well as volumes for November 2019.

U.S. railroads originated 955,579 carloads in November 2019, down 7.5 percent, or 77,166 carloads, from November 2018. U.S. railroads also originated 1,019,766 containers and trailers in November 2019, down 7.4 percent, or 81,138 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in November 2019 were 1,975,345, down 7.4 percent, or 158,304 carloads and intermodal units from November 2018.

In November 2019, three of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with November 2018. These were stone, clay & glass products, up 1,163 carloads or 4.1 percent; all other carloads, up 659 carloads or 2.7 percent; and primary forest products, up 143 carloads or 3.4 percent. Commodities that saw declines in November 2019 from November 2018 included: coal, down 49,419 carloads or 14.5 percent; crushed stone, sand & gravel, down 6,920 carloads or 8.4 percent; and primary metal products, down 5,447 carloads or 15.1 percent.

“Rail traffic continues to struggle because U.S. manufacturing is soft, trade disputes and the uncertainty they entail are ongoing, and economic growth abroad isn’t what it could be,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “That said, we’re confident that rail volumes will begin to grow again as the manufacturing portion of the economy finds firmer footing.”

Excluding coal, carloads were down 27,747 carloads, or 4 percent, in November 2019 from November 2018. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 26,887 carloads, or 4.5 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 11 months of 2019 was 12,044,302 carloads, down 4.6 percent, or 574,287 carloads, from the same period last year; and 12,741,636 intermodal units, down 4.7 percent, or 635,001 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 48 weeks of 2019 was 24,785,938 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 4.7 percent compared to last year.

Week Ending November 30, 2019

Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 436,900 carloads and intermodal units, down 23 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending November 30 were 215,126 carloads, down 21.3 percent compared with the same week in 2018, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 221,774 containers and trailers, down 24.5 percent compared to 2018.

None of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2018. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2018 included coal, down 20,027 carloads, to 67,858; nonmetallic minerals, down 10,328 carloads, to 23,948; and chemicals, down 7,286 carloads, to 27,694.

North American rail volume for the week ending November 30, 2019, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 305,507 carloads, down 20.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 307,219 intermodal units, down 19.7 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 612,726 carloads and intermodal units, down 20 percent. North American rail volume for the first 48 weeks of 2019 was 33,846,755 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.6 percent compared with 2018.

Canadian railroads reported 70,684 carloads for the week, down 20.2 percent, and 68,616 intermodal units, down 3 percent compared with the same week in 2018. For the first 48 weeks of 2019, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 7,248,142 carloads, containers and trailers, down 0.3 percent.

Mexican railroads reported 19,697 carloads for the week, down 7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 16,829 intermodal units, down 7.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 48 weeks of 2019 was 1,812,675 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.7 percent from the same point last year.

An Association of American Railroads press release. aar.org.

For the latest railroad news, go to rtands.com.

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