AAR: Intermodal up 6 percent; oil moves up 60 percent

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Association of American Railroads
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Association of American Railroads
WASHINGTON — The Association of American Railroads today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 1, as well as volumes for August.

U.S. railroads originated 1,386,026 carloads in August, up 3.8 percent, or 50,335 carloads, from August 2017. U.S. railroads also originated 1,442,920 containers and trailers in August, up 5.1 percent, or 70,198 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in August 2018 were 2,828,946, up 4.5 percent, or 120,533 carloads and intermodal units from August 2017.

In August, 16 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with August 2017. These included: grain, up 18,989 carloads or 19.8 percent; petroleum and petroleum products, up 12,780 carloads or 28.8 percent; and chemicals, up 11,911 carloads or 7.8 percent. Commodities that saw declines in August 2018 from August 2017 included: coal, down 15,410 carloads or 3.2 percent; non-metallic minerals, down 4,034 carloads or 16.6 percent; and metallic ores, down 1,061 carloads or 3.2 percent.

“August was a very good month for U.S. rail traffic with 16 of the 20 carload commodity categories the AAR tracks registering higher carloads in August 2018 than in August 2017, the most since January 2015,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. “The U.S. economy has been improving since the 2016 slow down and freight railroads are committed to maintaining the economic momentum by moving goods safely and efficiently for their customers. Still a concern, however, trade policy discussions that add a level of uncertainty to future economic growth.”

Excluding coal, carloads were up 65,745 carloads, or 7.6 percent, in August 2018 from August 2017. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 46,756 carloads, or 6.1 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first eight months of 2018 was 9,181,733 carloads, up 1.9 percent, or 172,712 carloads, from the same period last year; and 9,704,619 intermodal units, up 6 percent, or 547,613 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 35 weeks of 2018 was 18,886,352 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 4 percent compared to last year.

Week Ending Sept. 1.

Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 567,881 carloads and intermodal units, up 7.8 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending Sept. 1 were 280,366 carloads, up 9.6 percent compared with the same week in 2017, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 287,515 containers and trailers, up 6 percent compared to 2017.

Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2017. They included chemicals, up 8,450 carloads, to 33,408; petroleum and petroleum products, up 4,588 carloads, to 12,222; and grain, up 4,420 carloads, to 22,633. One commodity group posted a decrease compared with the same week in 2017: coal, down 2,533 carloads, to 92,084.

North American rail volume for the week ending Sept. 1, 2018, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 387,637 carloads, up 8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 379,747 intermodal units, up 5.4 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 767,384 carloads and intermodal units, up 6.7 percent. North American rail volume for the first 35 weeks of 2018 was 25,452,555 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.6 percent compared with 2017.

Canadian railroads reported 86,902 carloads for the week, up 5.3 percent, and 72,870 intermodal units, up 4.4 percent compared with the same week in 2017. For the first 35 weeks of 2018, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 5,215,716 carloads, containers and trailers, up 3.9 percent.

Mexican railroads reported 20,369 carloads for the week, down 1.9 percent compared with the same week last year, and 19,362 intermodal units, up 0.6 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 35 weeks of 2018 was 1,350,487 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers.

— An Association of American Railroads news release. Sept. 5, 2018.
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