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Latest US rail traffic data reported by AAR

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Dry Bulk,

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has reported its latest US rail traffic data for the week ending 3 October 2020, as well as volumes for September 2020.

US railroads originated 1.12 million carloads in September 2020 (down 9.7% or 119 909 carloads from September 2019). US railroads also originated 1.42 million containers and trailers in September 2020 (up 7.1% or 94 351 units from the same month last year). Combined US carload and intermodal originations in September 2020 were 2.54 million (down 1%, or 25 558 carloads and intermodal units from September 2019).

In September 2020, eight of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with September 2019. These included: grain (up 25 705 carloads or 27.8%); iron and steel scrap (up 2021 carloads or 12.2%); and grain mill products (up 1978 carloads or 4.7%). Commodities that saw declines in September 2020 from September 2019 included: coal (down 95 400 carloads or 24.2%); crushed stone, sand, and gravel (down 23 542 carloads or 20.9%); and chemicals (down 8904 carloads or 5.6%).

“September 2020 was the fourth best intermodal month in history for US railroads, as retailers and others restocked their inventories and prepared for the holiday season,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Meanwhile, rail carloads, which do not include intermodal, remained down in September compared with last year, but showed marked improvement compared to a few months ago, especially if you exclude coal. In the meantime, railroads remain focused on keeping their employees safe while delivering the goods our nation needs.”

Excluding coal, carloads were down 24 509 carloads (2.9%) in September 2020 from September 2019. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 50 214 carloads (6.7%).

Total US carload traffic for the first nine months of 2020 was 8.57 million carloads (down 15.3% or 1.54 million carloads from the same period last year); and 10.03 million intermodal units (down 5.9% or 623 634 containers and trailers from last year).

Total combined US traffic for the first 40 weeks of 2020 was 18.6 million carloads and intermodal units (a decrease of 10.4% compared to last year).

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