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Coal rail traffic down 10.3% in latest week, YTD production slumps 21.9%

TotalU.S. coal rail traffic for the week ended Oct. 1 sank 10.3% year over year to91,943 carloads, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

Year-to-datecoal rail traffic showed a 25.4% contraction through the week, a continueddowntrend leading to the largest annual decline since record keeping commenced in1949.

Thetotal rail traffic for the week was 549,171 carloads and intermodal units,dropping 4% from the year-ago period.

"Railtraffic in September was more of what we have come to expect this year: bigdeclines in energy related products, continued weakness in intermodal and mostother export markets, but with some strength in grain," said John Gray, Associationof American Railroads senior vice president of policy and economics. "Itisn't helping that rail regulators are seeking to put additional costlyregulatory burdens on railroads too."

coal shipmentvolumes clocked in at 40,974 carloads in the week ended Oct. 1, up fromlast week's 38,335carloads but down 12.3% compared to the year-ago week.

's coalshipment volumes this week were at 24,439 carloads, up from 23,516 carloadslast week but down 13.7% compared to last year's weekly volume.

Easternrailroad CSX TransportationInc.'s shipment volumes of coal stood at 15,154 carloads, down fromthe last week's 17,137 carloads, and tumbling 9.9% compared to the same week in2015.

's coalshipment volumes totaled 18,764 carloads for the week, up from last week's17,947 carloads but falling 6.4% from the same week a year ago.

'slatest weekly coal shipment volume showed 3,737 carloads, up from 3,689carloads the previous week. The railroad serves 10 U.S. states and Mexico.

Weekly coal output shows 6.7% cutback year overyear

Accordingto data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, U.S. coal productionfor the week ended Oct. 1 abated by 6.7% to 16.7 million tons, compared to 17.9million tons a year ago.

Forthe 52 weeks ended Oct. 1, production settled at 740.1 million tons, a 21.3%year-over-year decline, while year-to-date coal output slumped 21.9% year overyear to about 540.5 million tons through Oct. 1.

Thewestern region's coal production for the week slipped 8.8% year over year to9.4 million tons compared to the previous year's 10.4 million tons. Data forthe Western region covers Powder River Basin mines.

Coalproduction from Appalachian mines for the period showed a 5.6% decline yearover year to 4.0 million tons, compared to roughly 4.2 million tons in the sameweek of 2015.

Forthe interior region, weekly total coal production reached 3.3 million tons,slipping 1.4% year over year, which is relatively flat to the year-ago week'soutput of 3.3 million tons. Interior region data covers mines in the IllinoisBasin.

TheEIA's production data is derived from rail carload estimates.

Data collected by S&PGlobal Market Intelligence from railroads indicate both cars originated ontheir lines during the week and cars received from a connecting railroad duringthe same week.