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North America rail traffic sees declining coal shipments

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Dry Bulk,


The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has reported on US rail traffic for the week ending 29 June 2024, as well as volumes for June 2024.

US railroads originated 885 864 carloads in June 2024, down 1.7%, or 15 019 carloads, from June 2023. US railroads also originated 1 074 646 containers and trailers in June 2024, up 8.7%, or 85 896 units, from the same month in 2023. Combined US carload and intermodal originations in June 2024 were 1 960 510, up 3.8%, or 70 877 carloads and intermodal units from June 2023.

In June 2024, 11 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with June 2023. These included: grain, up 10 971 carloads or 17.5%; chemicals, up 8273 carloads or 6.7%; and petroleum & petroleum products, up 5291 carloads or 14.0%. Commodities that saw declines in June 2024 from June 2023 included: coal, down 26 273 carloads or 10.4%; crushed stone, sand & gravel, down 9 947 carloads or 11.2%; and all other carloads, down 4 016 carloads or 16.9%.

“June rail traffic continued the trends we’ve seen throughout the first half of 2024, with coal shipments declining and pulling total carloads below 2023 levels,” said AAR Chief Economist Rand Ghayad. “However, this decline is balanced by growth in other sectors, including chemicals, motor vehicles, and intermodal shipments. Freight rail serves as a reflection of the broader economy, and the increase in motor vehicles and intermodal traffic indicates resilient consumer spending across various industries.”

Excluding coal, carloads were up 11 254 carloads, or 1.7%, in June 2024 from June 2023. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 283 carloads, or 0.0%.

Total US carload traffic for the first six months of 2024 was 5 569 374 carloads, down 4.5%, or 263 003 carloads, from the same period in 2023; and 6 643 110 intermodal units, up 8.7%, or 529 349 containers and trailers, from 2023.

Total combined US traffic for the first 26 weeks of 2024 was 12 212 484 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 2.2% compared to 2023.

Week ending 29 June 2024

Total US weekly rail traffic was 491 899 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.9% compared with the same week in 2023.

Total carloads for the week ending 29 June were 224 775 carloads, up 1.1% compared with the same week in 2023, while US weekly intermodal volume was 267 124 containers and trailers, up 6.3% compared to 2023.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2023. They included grain, up 2451 carloads, to 17 968; petroleum and petroleum products, up 1837 carloads, to 10 620; and chemicals, up 1787 carloads, to 34 337. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2023 included non-metallic minerals, down 2836 carloads, to 31 599; coal, down 1509 carloads, to 57 796; and miscellaneous carloads, down 494 carloads, to 9244.

North American rail volume for the week ending 29 June 2024, on 10 reporting US, Canadian and Mexican railroads totalled 334 500 carloads, up 2.1% compared with the same week in 2023, and 347 441 intermodal units, up 4.6% compared with 2023. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 681 941 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.3%. North American rail volume for the first 26 weeks of 2024 was 17 167 693 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.1% compared with 2023.

Canadian railroads reported 93 710 carloads for the week, up 7.8%, and 66 742 intermodal units, down 1.0% compared with the same week in 2023. For the first 26 weeks of 2024, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4 188 444 carloads, containers and trailers, up 0.9%.

Mexican railroads reported 16 015 carloads for the week, down 12.1% compared with the same week in 2023, and 13 575 intermodal units, down 0.7%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 26 weeks of 2024 was 766 765 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 6.3% from the same point in 2023.


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Read the article online at: https://www.drybulkmagazine.com/rail-barge/04072024/north-america-rail-traffic-sees-declining-coal-shipments/

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