Coal loadings continue drop in 2016, AAR figures show

With the industry headlines being dominated by coal plant retirements and mining company bankruptcy filings, the level of coal being shipped over North American railroads continues to be down so far in 2016, according to the latest data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

AAR said in an April 20 news release that coal carloads in the United States were down 36.5% from one year earlier for the week ended April 16. The U.S. total for the week was 63,090 carloads.

For the first 15 weeks of 2016, the average weekly shipments of domestic coal by rail averaged 70,605 carloads, a decline of 33.6%. (The figure excludes U.S. operations of Canadian National and Canadian Pacific).

The figures aren’t much better for North America as a whole. North American coal shipments were down 34.1% for the week ended April 16. The weekly average of North American coal car loadings was 77,877.

That figure represents a 32.2% decline in North American coal shipments by rail for the first 15 weeks of 2016.

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at