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North American Rail Traffic Fell 20% in Week Ended April 18

By Colin Kellaher


North American rail traffic tumbled 20% last week, as vast swaths of the economy remain paralyzed by the coronavirus pandemic, data from the Association of American Railroads showed.

Carload volume plunged 23.5% for the week ended April 18 on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads amid declines in all 10 commodity groups tracked, while intermodal traffic fell 16.5%, the trade group said Wednesday.

"Rail volumes suffered again last week as extremely difficult times for rail customers and the economy continued," John Gray, AAR senior vice president, said. "Like everyone else, railroads are looking forward to a return to normalcy and an end to the significant challenges associated with the pandemic."

In the week ended April 11, North American rail traffic was down 20.1%.

For the first 16 weeks of the year, North American traffic is now down 8.4%, compared with a year-to-date drop of 7.7% reported a week earlier.

The AAR said U.S. rail traffic slid 23.3% last week, with carloads plunging 27.5% and the volume of intermodal containers and trailers down 19.1%.

U.S. rail traffic is now down 10% for the year to date, the AAR said, compared with a year-to-date decline of 9.1% reported a week earlier.

Canadian rail traffic fell 10.9% last week amid a 13.5% decline in carloads and a 7.9% drop in intermodal units. Canadian rail traffic is down 4.7% for the first 16 weeks of the year.

Mexican rail traffic fell 10.2% for the week, with carloads down 10.3% and intermodal units off 10.2%. Mexican rail traffic is now down 2.2% for the year, the AAR said.


Write to Colin Kellaher at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 22, 2020 13:41 ET (17:41 GMT)

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