AAR: Crude oil carloads climb 16-percent so far this year

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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 Nov. 3, as well as volumes for October 2018.

U.S. railroads originated 1,338,037 carloads in October 2018, up 1 percent, or 12,598 carloads, from October 2017. U.S. railroads also originated 1,443,914 containers and trailers in October 2018, up 4.2 percent, or 58,546 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in October 2018 were 2,781,951, up 2.6 percent, or 71,144 carloads and intermodal units from October 2017.

In October 2018, 13 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with October 2017. These included: petroleum and petroleum products, up 13,746 carloads or 28.4 percent; coal, up 6,828 carloads or 1.6 percent; and primary metal products, up 4,188 carloads or 9.8 percent. Commodities that saw declines in October 2018 from October 2017 included: crushed stone, sand & gravel, down 12,745 carloads or 9.6 percent; grain, down 5,620 carloads or 4.8 percent; and coke, down 2,067 carloads or 9.9 percent.

“U.S. rail traffic in October was mixed. On the negative side, changing market conditions for frac sand caused lower rail carloads of crushed stone, sand, and gravel, while uncertainties in export markets helped keep grain carloads down,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “On the plus side, coal carloads in October rose for the first time in five months and intermodal enjoyed its second-best month ever. All in all, we expect most rail traffic categories to continue to benefit from what we hope will be continued solid economic growth.”

Excluding coal, carloads were up 5,770 carloads, or 0.6 percent, in October 2018 from October 2017. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 11,390 carloads, or 1.5 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 10 months of 2018 was 11,586,596 carloads, up 1.9 percent, or 212,136 carloads, from the same period last year; and 12,275,918 intermodal units, up 5.8 percent, or 671,960 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 44 weeks of 2018 was 23,862,514 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.8 percent compared to last year.

Week Ending Nov. 3
Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 560,046 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.4 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending Nov. 3 were 270,305 carloads, up 1.8 percent compared with the same week in 2017, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 289,741 containers and trailers, up 8.9 percent compared to 2017.

Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2017. They included petroleum and petroleum products, up 3,005 carloads, to 12,668; miscellaneous carloads, up 2,273 carloads, to 11,613; and metallic ores and metals, up 1,485 carloads, to 24,191. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2017 were grain, down 2,904 carloads, to 20,441; non-metallic minerals, down 1,062 carloads, to 36,613; and motor vehicles and parts, down 837 carloads, to 16,681.

North American rail volume for the week ending Nov. 3, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads totaled 377,391 carloads, up 3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 382,068 intermodal units, up 7.3 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 759,459 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.1 percent. North American rail volume for the first 44 weeks of 2018 was 32,207,910 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.5 percent compared with 2017.

Canadian railroads reported 88,275 carloads for the week, up 7.7 percent, and 72,338 intermodal units, up 1.9 percent compared with the same week in 2017. For the first 44 weeks of 2018, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 6,637,910 carloads, containers and trailers, up 3.7 percent.

Mexican railroads reported 18,811 carloads for the week, down 1.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 19,989 intermodal units, up 5.3 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 44 weeks of 2018 was 1,707,486 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers.

— An Association of American Railroads news release. Nov. 7, 2018.

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