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YOY coal rail traffic climbs 9.9% in latest week, production up 7.5%

Total U.S. coal rail traffic for the week ended May 12 rose 9.9% year over year to 81,523 carloads, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

Year-to-date coal rail traffic increased by less than 1% through the week, while total rail traffic climbed 5.8% year over year to 550,029 carloads and intermodal units.

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BNSF Railway Co.'s coal shipment volumes clocked in at 33,170 carloads in the week ended May 12, up 6% from last week's 31,307 carloads and 11.1% compared to 29,856 carloads in the year-ago week.

Union Pacific Corp.'s coal shipment volumes this week were at 17,126 carloads, down 4.6% from 17,954 carloads last week and from 2017's weekly volume of 17,952 carloads.

Eastern railroad CSX Transportation Inc.'s shipment volumes of coal stood at 17,879 carloads, up 21.3% from last week's 14,737 carloads and 28.1% from 13,957 carloads during the same week in 2017.

Norfolk Southern Corp.'s coal shipment volumes totaled 20,332 carloads for the week, up 4.4% from the prior week's 19,466 carloads but down by nearly 1% from 20,516 carloads of the same week a year ago.

Kansas City Southern Railway Co.'s latest weekly coal shipment volume showed 1,567 carloads, down 5.5% from 1,658 carloads the previous week. The railroad serves 10 U.S. states and Mexico.

US coal production climbs 7.5% YOY

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total U.S. coal production for the week rose 7.5% year over year to 14.3 million tons, compared to 13.3 million tons during the same period in 2017.

For the 52 weeks ended May 12, production was reported at 767.9 million tons, representing a decrease of 1% year over year, while year-to-date coal output dropped 1.6 % year over year to 274.4 million tons.

The western region's coal production for the week reached 7.8 million tons, increasing 10.2% year over year from the prior year's 7.1 million tons. Data for the Western region covers Powder River Basin mines.

Coal production from Appalachian mines posted a 5.1% increase year over year to 3.8 million tons, from 3.6 million tons a year ago.

The interior region's production numbers inched up 3.4% year over year to 2.7 million tons, from 2.6 million tons the previous year. Interior region data covers mines in the Illinois Basin.

The EIA's production data is derived from rail carload estimates.

Data collected by S&P Global Market Intelligence from railroads indicate both cars originated on their lines during the week and cars received from a connecting railroad during the same week.