By Colin Kellaher

 

North American rail traffic plunged 20.9% last week, with U.S. carloads posting their biggest drop on record amid continued economic chaos sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, data from the Association of American Railroads showed.

Carload volume plummeted 29.2% for the week ended May 16 on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads, with double-digit declines across eight of the 10 commodity groups tracked.

Intermodal traffic fell 12.3% for the week, the trade group said Wednesday.

In the week ended May 9, North American rail traffic was down 20.5%. For the first 20 weeks of the year, North American traffic is down 11%, compared with a year-to-date decline of 10.4% reported a week earlier.

The AAR said U.S. rail traffic fell 22% last week, as carloads tumbled 30.2% for the biggest year-over-year weekly decline since 1988, when the group's data began. The volume of intermodal containers and trailers fell 14%.

U.S. rail traffic is now down 12.5% for the year to date, the AAR said, compared with a year-to-date decline of 11.9% reported a week earlier.

Canadian rail traffic fell 15.7% last week, as carloads slumped 25.4% and intermodal units fell 3.7%. Canadian rail traffic is down 6.7% for the first 20 weeks of the year.

Mexican rail traffic tumbled 27.1% for the week, with carloads sliding 32.3% and intermodal units falling 20.9%. Mexican rail traffic is now down 7.8% for the year, the AAR said.

 

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

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 20, 2020 13:37 ET (17:37 GMT)

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