AAR reports rail traffic for week ending June 2, 2018

(Source: Association of American Railroads press release, June 6, 2018)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending June 2, 2018, as well as volumes for May 2018.

U.S. railroads originated 1,319,420 carloads in May 2018, up 3.2 percent, or 41,078 carloads, from May 2017. U.S. railroads also originated 1,398,203 containers and trailers in May 2018, up 6.6 percent, or 86,010 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in May 2018 were 2,717,623, up 4.9 percent, or 127,088 carloads and intermodal units from May 2017.

In May 2018, 15 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with May 2017. These included: crushed stone, sand & gravel, up 16,811 carloads or 13.7 percent; chemicals, up 9,368 carloads or 6.1 percent; and coal, up 6,707 carloads or 1.7 percent. Commodities that saw declines in May 2018 from May 2017 included: nonmetallic minerals, down 4,187 carloads or 17 percent; metallic ores, down 2,254 carloads or 6.6 percent; and all other carloads, down 2,076 carloads or 6.9 percent.

“In May, U.S. rail carloads were higher in 15 of the 20 carload commodity categories the AAR tracks, including nearly all of the major ones,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. “In addition, intermodal volume in May was the second highest for any month in history. Right now, the economy is clicking, and railroads are both beneficiaries and enablers of that. One potential cloud on the horizon, though, involves trade. Freight railroads are essential to the flow of goods and rely on sensible trade policy. We’re hopeful that federal policymakers will recognize that an unnecessary trade war would do far more harm than good.”

Excluding coal, carloads were up 34,371 carloads, or 3.9 percent, in May 2018 from May 2017. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 31,198 carloads, or 4.1 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first five months of 2018 was 5,666,645 carloads, up 1.2 percent, or 66,071 carloads, from the same period last year; and 5,993,584 intermodal units, up 6 percent, or 336,944 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 22 weeks of 2018 was 11,660,229 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.6 percent compared to last year.

Friday, June 8, 2018