Total US coal traffic totals 72,190, down 16% on year; drop led by PRB railroads: AAR
US coal carload originations totaled 72,190 in the week ended March 16, down 5.7% from the prior week and down 16% from the year-ago week, Association of American Railroads data showed.
This was the largest year-on-year drop since the first week of September 2016, down 16.2%. Coal also took up 14.4% of total traffic, the smallest percentage since mid-May 2018, with 14.4%.
From the five-year average of 89,589 in the 11th week of the year, coal originations were down 19.4%.
Canadian carloads totaled 7,357, up 1.9% week on week and down 0.3% from the year-ago week. This was only the second time in 2019 so far carloads dropped year on year.
Carloads from the four major Class I railroads totaled 78,586 in the most recently ended week, down 15.3% from the year-ago week.
The year-on-year fall was largely driven by drops from Union Pacific and BNSF, down 25.8% and 22.7%, respectively, both of which transport coal from the Powder River Basin.
Total UP carloads were 15,788, up 1.5% from the week before.
Coal was 10.5% of total traffic on the rail, slightly more than the prior two weeks of 10.4% and 10%.
BNSF originations totaled 27,528, also down 15.4% from the prior week. Out of total traffic on the rail, coal made up 15.4%, down from the average of 17.8% in the first 10 weeks of the year.
Norfolk Southern coal carloads totaled 18,938, up 1.5% from the week before. From the year-ago week carloads fell 9.6%, and out of total traffic coal made up 12.1%.
Only CSX experienced coal carloads increase from both the prior week and the year-ago week, up 9% and 4.7%, respectively, with a total of 16,332 carloads. Coal made up 13.1% of total traffic on the rail, in line with prior weeks.