By Colin Kellaher

 

North American rail traffic slid 16.1% last week as the impact of coronavirus pandemic on railroads escalates, data from the Association of American Railroads showed.

Carload volume for the week ended April 4 on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads tumbled 16.7%, while intermodal traffic fell 15.5%, the trade group said Wednesday.

In the week ended March 28, North American rail traffic was down 11.4%. For the first 14 weeks of the year, North American traffic is now down 6.7%, compared with a year-to-date drop of 6% reported a week earlier.

The AAR said U.S. rail traffic fell 15.9% last week, with carloads dropping 16.2% and the volume of intermodal containers and trailers down 15.7%.

The group said total U.S. rail carloads last week reached their lowest levels since its data began in 1988, except for a few Christmas and New Year's weeks, when rail operations are seasonally low.

In addition to sustained weakness in coal carloads, the AAR said last week's decline reflects a more than 80% plunge in shipments of autos and auto parts sparked by the suspension of manufacturing operations by most automakers.

U.S. rail traffic is now down 8.1% for the year to date, the AAR said, compared with a year-to-date decline of 7.5% reported a week earlier.

Canadian rail traffic fell 15.1% last week amid a 17.1% drop in carloads and a 12.7% decline in intermodal units. Canadian rail traffic is down 3.7% for the first 14 weeks of the year.

Mexican rail traffic plunged 23% for the week, with carloads down 21.8% and intermodal units off 24.3%. Mexican rail traffic, which began the year on a strong note, is now up just 0.3% for the year to date, the AAR said.

 

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

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

April 08, 2020 13:39 ET (17:39 GMT)

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