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March 13, 2018
Freight traffic on American railroads up slightly in February
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reports that U.S. railroads originated 1,028,141 carloads in February 2018, down 0.3 percent, or 2,753 carloads, from February 2017. U.S. railroads also originated 1,104,001 containers and trailers in February 2018, up 6.9 percent, or 70,970 units, from the same month last year.
Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in February 2018 were 2,132,142, up 3.3 percent, or 68,217 carloads and intermodal units from February 2017.
"Rail carloads in February, like in many other recent months, were held back by declines in coal, grain, and motor vehicles," said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. "Declines in those categories are unfortunate, but they don't reflect general weakness in the economy. Excluding them, carloads were up a reasonably solid 2.1% in February. Moreover, February 2018 was the best month ever for carloads of chemicals and the second-best month ever for intermodal. While these are good signs for the broader economy going forward, they are potentially compromised by the uncertainty created by recent developments in trade policy."
Excluding coal, carloads were up 3,048 carloads, or 0.4 percent, in February 2018 from February 2017. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 7,760 carloads, or 1.3 percent.
Total U.S. carload traffic for the first two months of 2018 was 2,245,546 carloads, down 2 percent, or 45,184 carloads, from the same period last year; and 2,414,142 intermodal units, up 5 percent, or 115,153 containers and trailers, from last year.
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