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North American Rail Traffic Fell 8.2% in Week Ended Oct. 19

By Colin Kellaher

 

North American rail traffic tumbled 8.2% last week, as the U.S., Canada and Mexico all saw sharp declines, data from the Association of American Railroads showed.

Carload volume for the week ended Oct. 19 on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads slid 8.4%, while intermodal traffic fell 8.1%, the trade group said Wednesday.

North American rail traffic was 5.8% lower in the week ended Oct. 12. For the first 42 weeks of the year, North American volume is now down 3.1%, compared with a year-to-date drop of 2.9% reported a week earlier.

The AAR said U.S. rail traffic fell 8.6% last week following a 7% drop a week earlier. U.S. carloads fell 7.8%, with double-digit declines in shipments of coal, metallic ores and metals, and motor vehicles and parts. The volume of U.S. intermodal containers and trailers tumbled 9.3% for the week.

U.S. rail traffic is now down 4.2% for the year to date, compared with a decline of 4.1% reported a week earlier, the AAR said.

U.S. railroads have been cutting costs in a bid to offset the falling traffic.

Union Pacific Corp. (UNP) last week reported a 7% drop in third-quarter revenue, but a 10% drop in expenses helped limit the profit decline to 2%. CSX Corp. (CSX) said it cut expenses by 8% in the third quarter, which helped offset a 5% drop in revenue.

The AAR said Canadian rail traffic fell 7.8% last week amid a 10.5% slide in carloads and a 4.6% drop in intermodal units.

Mexican rail traffic was fell 4.9% last week, the AAR said, with carloads down 7.2% and intermodal units off 2.5%.

 

Write to Colin Kellaher at colin.kellaher@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 23, 2019 12:41 ET (16:41 GMT)

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