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August 08, 2018

Freight traffic on American railroads up 5.2 percent in July

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reports that U.S. railroads originated 1,048,293 carloads in July 2018, up 3.5 percent, or 35,208 carloads, from July 2017. U.S. railroads also originated 1,108,142 containers and trailers in July 2018, up 6.9 percent, or 71,782 units, from the same month last year.

Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in July 2018 were 2,156,435, up 5.2 percent, or 106,990 carloads and intermodal units from July 2017.

In July 2018, 15 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with July 2017. These included: grain, up 12,066 carloads or 14.7 percent; petroleum & petroleum products, up 9,661 carloads or 27 percent; and chemicals, up 5,649 carloads or 4.6 percent.

Commodities that saw declines in July 2018 from July 2017 included: coal, down 9,313 carloads or 2.7 percent; nonmetallic minerals, down 2,917 carloads or 15.6 percent; and metallic ores, down 592 carloads or 2.3 percent.

"Rail traffic continues to reflect the strength of the U.S. economy across all major industry sectors, with 15 of the 20 commodity categories we track having higher carloads in July 2018 than in July 2017" said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. "July saw especially strong gains in commodities related to the energy sector - and also in categories tied to consumer spending, including automotive and intermodal traffic. Still of concern, though, is the potential negative impacts that could result from the ongoing discussions around trade."

Source: AAR