North American rail freight volume down 4.8pc in September
NORTH American rail volume for the week ending September 28, on 12 reporting US, Canadian and Mexican railways totalled 356,053 carloads, down 6
NORTH American rail volume for the week ending September 28, on 12 reporting US, Canadian and Mexican railways totalled 356,053 carloads, down 6.8 per cent year on year, and 373,400 intermodal units, down 4.8 per cent.
Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 729,453 carloads and intermodal units were down 5.8 per cent, reported Association of American Railroads (R).
North American rail volume for the first 39 weeks of 2019 was 27,647,819 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.8 per cent compared with 2018.
Canadian railways reported 83,791 carloads for the week, down 5.8 per cent, and 73,658 intermodal units, down 0.3 per cent compared with the same week in 2018. For the first 39 weeks of 2019, Canadians reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 5,924,320 carloads, containers and trailers, up 1.4 per cent.
Mexican railways reported 21,812 carloads for the week, up 3.9 per cent compared with the same week last year, and 20,856 intermodal units, up 11.6 per cent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railways for the first 39 weeks of 2019 was 1,469,327 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 2.9 per cent from the same point last year.
US railways originated 992,542 carloads in September 2019, down seven per cent, or 74,172 carloads, from September 2018. US rail also originated 1,061,483 containers and trailers in September 2019, down 5.9 per cent year on year.
In September, six of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the R each month saw carload gains compared with September 2018.
These included stone, clay & glass products, up 1,110 carloads or 3.4 per cent; nonmetallic minerals, up 944 carloads or 5.9 per cent; and primary forest products, up 429 carloads or 10.1 per cent.
Commodities that saw declines in September 2019 from September 2018 included coal, down 30,361 carloads or 8.7 per cent; grain, down 13,684 carloads or 15.8 per cent; and crushed stone, sand & gravel, down 7,328 carloads or 7.5 per cent.
'In 2019, railroads are facing multi-pronged challenges,' said R vice president John Gray. 'Fundamental long-term structural changes - including the continued erosion of coal markets - growth in the domestic intermodal and chemical sectors and the current disruptions to manufacturing, agricultural, and international intermodal markets stemming from trade uncertainty and the evolution of consumer purchasing practices, have all required adaptation and renewed focus on basic railroad management and operational principles. That said, the industry's ultimate goal will remain what it's always been: providing safe, cost-effective transportation that meets the evolving demands of our customers' markets, now and in the future.'