AAR: US rail traffic up 2.5 percent in July

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A BNSF Railway freight rolls across the New Mexico desert on its way to Gallup, N.M., from Belen, N.M.
Chase Gunnoe
WASHINGTON — Intermodal traffic slightly outperformed freight carload volumes during the month of July, an Association of American Railroads report shows. In July 2017, U.S. freight carload traffic was down 0.6 percent, or 6,079 carloads from July 2016, while intermodal container and trailer traffic was up 5.6 percent, or 55,997 units from the same month as last year.

Combined, U.S. railroads handled 2.07 million carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 2.5 percent, or 49,918 carloads and intermodal units from July 2016.

Last month, nine of the 20 carload commodity groups recognized by the AAR reported gains compared with July 2016. They included: crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 15 percent or 13,458 carloads; coal, up 4 percent or 13,097 carloads; and chemicals, up 1.5 percent or 1,842 carloads. Commodities that saw declines in July 2017 from July 2016 included: grain, down 14 percent or 13,325 carloads; motor vehicles & parts, down 12.9 percent or 7,544 carloads; and petroleum & petroleum products, down 15.4 percent or 6,508 carloads.

AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray says the decline in total rail carloads in July 2017 from July 2016 was very small at 0.6 percent, noting it was the first carload decline since October 2016.

Excluding coal, carload traffic would have been down 2.8 percent, or an additional 19,176 carloads last month.

For the first seven months of 2017, U.S. carload traffic has been up more than 5 percent, or 397,999 carloads, from the same period last year; and more than 7.9 million intermodal units, up more than 3 percent, or 235,512 containers and trailers from the first seven months of 2016.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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