Freight rail traffic is continuing on a path to recovery, according to a Thursday release from the Association of American Railroads. In total, 1,799,189 carloads and intermodal units originated in June. This constitutes a 14.3% annual decrease in rail traffic. According to AAR Senior Vice President, John Gray, things are actually heading in the right direction.
‘June was a month in which the slow recovery process that began in early May, began to accelerate,’ Gray said in a press release. ‘By the end of June, freight loadings had improved by about 60,000 carload and intermodal units weekly over where they had been in late April.’
Carloads declined by 22.4%, to 794,256 in June. The category, ‘All other carloads’ was up by 585 loads, or 2.4% since last year. Farm products excluding grain also rose, by 11.1%. None of the other commodity groups saw improvements. Coal shrank by 104,576 loads, or 34.1%. Crushed stone, sand, and gravel declined by 27.1% or 26,659 loads. Motor vehicles and parts fell 30.3% to 20,500 loads. Take coal out of the equation, and carloads improve slightly, ‘only’ falling by 124,399 (17.4%). Excluding coal and grain, carloads fall by 19.1% annually, or 120,284 loads.
‘After recording record lows in early May, coal finally stabilized at about 50,000 carloads per week by the end of June’, Gray explains. ‘Additionally, the reopening of automotive plants that began in early June has regrown that business from as little as 2,000 weekly loads to over 13,000 by the end of the month. This also contributed to stabilization for loadings of products that support auto production such as metals, glass and plastics.’
‘However, leading the way upward was the intermodal business which, over the last two months, grew to match volumes last seen around the first of February. While all of these results are encouraging they will be much more robust if the current trend continues in the weeks following the July 4th holiday.’
Intermodal containers and trailers fell by 6.6% annually, to 1,004,933 units.