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North American rail volume better, but progress is slow, says AAR

NORTH American rail volume for the week ending August 1 on 12 reporting US, Canadian and Mexican railways totalled 308,202 carloads, down 16

09 August 2020 - 19:00

NORTH American rail volume for the week ending August 1 on 12 reporting US, Canadian and Mexican railways totalled 308,202 carloads, down 16.4 per cent year on year, and 353,663 intermodal units, down four per cent, reports the Association of American Railroads (R).

'Rail traffic is trending in the right direction, but progress is slow; there's a long way to go before it's back to normal; and both week-to-week improvements and setbacks in individual commodities are to be expected,' said R vice president John Gray.



Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 661,865 carloads and intermodal units, down 10.2 per cent. North American rail volume for the first 31 weeks of 2020 was 19,385,373 carloads and intermodal units, down 11.6 per cent compared with 2019.



Combined US carload and intermodal originations in July 2020 were 2,337,977, down 9.3 per cent, or 240,740 carloads and intermodal units from July 2019.



In July 2020, three of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the R each month saw carload gains compared with July 2019.



These were food products, up 475 carloads or 1.7 per cent; farm products excluding grain, up 295 carloads or 8.3 per cent; and lumber and wood products, up 258 carloads or 1.6 per cent.



Commodities that saw declines in July 2020 from July 2019 included: coal, down 110,225 carloads or 28.7 per cent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, down 29,547 carloads or 24.8 per cent; and metallic ores, down 21,942 carloads or 63.7 per cent.



Canadian railways reported 72,466 carloads for the week, down 11.2 per cent, and 68,044 intermodal units, down 9.5 per cent compared with the same week in 2019. For the first 31 weeks of 2020, Canadian railways reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,288,997 carloads, containers and trailers, down 8.5 percent.



Mexican railways reported 18,045 carloads for the week, down 13.7 per cent compared with the same week last year, and 15,342 intermodal units, down 15 per cent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railways for the first 31 weeks of 2020 was 1,058,823 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 10 per cent from the same point last year.


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