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Weekly US coal carloads reach 75,859, down 7.6% on year: AAR

Source: Platts, November 29, 2019

Weekly US coal carload originations totaled 75,859 in the week ended November 23, up 4.5% from the previous week, Association of American roads data showed.

From the year-ago week, originations were down 7.6%, the smallest year-on-year drop in 11 weeks, while, through 47 weeks, US carloads fell 8.1% compared with the year-ago period.

Coal traffic also produced 14.5% of total US carloads.

Canadian coal originations totaled 5,692 in the most recent week, down 27.1% week on week and down 31.8% from the year-ago week. Both were the largest declines since Platts began recording data in the beginning of 2012.

Additionally, through the year so far Canadian coal originations were down 0.4% compared with the year-ago period — the first time carloads have fallen below the previous year in 81 weeks.

Weekly coal carload movements from the four major Class I railroads totaled 82,852, up 4.8% week on week and down 8.2% from the year-ago week.

CSX was the only railroad to increase its coal movements from the week before and compared with the year-ago week, up 23.3% and 19.5%, respectively, with 14,883 carloads.

Through 47 weeks, CSX coal traffic was down 4% compared with the year-ago period. In addition, in week 47, coal took up 11.9% of total traffic.

Union Pacific was the only railroad of the four to drop both week on week and from the year-ago week.

UP coal traffic totaled 16,673, down 0.1% from the previous week. Coal movements were also down 27.9% from the year-ago week, the steepest drop in 21 weeks. Year-to-date, carloads were down 14.2% compared with the year-ago period, and in the most recent week, coal traffic took up 10.7% of all UP carloads, flat week on week.

BNSF coal movements totaled 36,652 in the most recent week, up 2.5% from the prior week and down 6.4% year on year.

Through 47 weeks, BNSF coal carloads were down 5.2% compared with the same point last year.

Additionally, coal movements took up 18.1% of total BNSF traffic in the most recent week.

Norfolk Southern coal movements totaled 14,644, up 1% week on week and down 5.8% from the year-ago week.

Over 47 weeks coal carloads were down 9% compared with the year-ago period. In the most recent week, NS coal movements produced 10.2% of total traffic.

News Source: Platts