North American coal rail traffic down 30% from 2015 heading into July

Coal industry rail traffic in the United States is down 31.3% and rail traffic across North America is down 30% from one year earlier as 2016 nears its mid-point.

That’s some of the key takeaways from car loading figures issued for the week ended June 25 by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The year is nearing its mid-point as United States residents prepare to observe the July 4 holiday.

Coal car traffic for the first 25 weeks of the year totaled more than 1.73 million cars or an average of 69,448 cars per week, according to the AAR data.

The good news (relatively speaking) is that 77,514 cars moved via rail in the United States for the week ended June 25. That’s more than the 2016 weekly average and only 14.3% less than the coal car loadings recorded for the same week in 2015.

Meanwhile, Canadian coal traffic is down 13.9% at the 25-week mark and traffic is down 24.4% in Mexico.

Coal traffic across North America amounted to 85,519 cars for the week ended June 25. That’s down only 13.3% from the same week in 2015. Cumulative North American coal traffic was more than 1.91 million tons for the first 25 weeks for an average of 76,620 cars – which is down 30% from the same point last year.

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