AAR reports rail traffic for week ending December 29, 2018
(Source: Association of American Railroads press release, January 3, 2019)
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending December 29, 2018, as well as volumes for December 2018.
U.S. railroads originated 1,021,978 carloads in December 2018, up 2.9 percent, or 29,139 carloads, from December 2017. U.S. railroads also originated 1,096,116 containers and trailers in December 2018, up 5 percent, or 52,115 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in December 2018 were 2,118,094, up 4 percent, or 81,254 carloads and intermodal units from December 2017.
In December 2018, 12 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with December 2017. These included: coal, up 12,382 carloads or 3.8 percent; petroleum & petroleum products, up 10,875 carloads or 26.5 percent; and chemicals, up 3,349 carloads or 2.7 percent. Commodities that saw declines in December 2018 from December 2017 included: crushed stone, sand & gravel, down 3,116 carloads or 4 percent; metallic ores, down 1,402 carloads or 5.3 percent; and stone, clay & glass products, down 938 carloads or 3.4 percent.
“U.S. freight rail traffic in 2018 was positive for the most part,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. “Intermodal set a new annual record for the fifth time in the past six years, while carloads of chemicals and crushed stone, sand, and gravel set new annual records. Petroleum products also had a mild resurgence. For the year, 13 of the 20 commodity categories we track saw increased carloads. On the negative side, coal continued to suffer in 2018 from market forces that favor natural gas and renewables for electricity generation. What happens in 2019 will depend on how the domestic and global economies hold up and the policies – particularly monetary and trade – that come out of our legislative and executive branches.”
Excluding coal, carloads were up 16,757 carloads, or 2.5 percent, in December 2018 from December 2017. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 14,221 carloads, or 2.5 percent.
Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 12 months of 2018 was 13,640,641 carloads, up 1.8 percent, or 238,857 carloads, from the same period last year; and 14,472,849 intermodal units, up 5.5 percent, or 751,217 containers and trailers, from last year.
Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 52 weeks of 2018 was 28,113,490 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.7 percent compared to last year.
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