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US coal rail traffic, production see trivial recovery in latest week

Total U.S. coal rail traffic for the week that ended Dec. 9 inched up 2% year over year to 89,808 carloads, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

Year-to-date coal rail traffic rose 8.4% through the week, while overall rail traffic went up 4% year over year to 560,756 carloads and intermodal units.

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BNSF Railway Co. reached 37,619 carloads in the week that ended Dec. 9, down 4.9% from the prior week's 39,569 carloads and 2.5% from the year-ago period's 38,576 carloads.

Union Pacific Corp.'s coal shipment volumes stood at 24,094 carloads, up 5.1% from the previous week's 22,916 carloads and 3.3% from the year-ago period's 23,323 carloads.

Eastern railroad CSX Transportation Inc.'s coal shipment volumes clocked in at 17,351 carloads, down 4.3% from the previous week's 18,139 carloads and 1.4% from 17,589 carloads in the year-ago week.

Norfolk Southern Corp.'s coal shipment volumes totaled 19,220 carloads, down 4.8% from the previous week's 20,194 carloads but up 12.2% from the prior year's 17,132 carloads.

Kansas City Southern Railway Co.'s latest weekly coal shipment volume showed 3,471 carloads, up 12.3% from the previous week's 3,091 carloads. The railroad serves 10 U.S. states and Mexico.

YTD coal output continues to see 8% improvement

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total U.S. coal production, at 15.5 million tons, remained relatively flat year over year.

For the 12 months that ended Dec. 9, production stood at roughly 796.7 million tons, increasing 10.2% year over year, while year-to-date coal output improved 8% year over year to 740.0 million tons.

The Western region's coal production also remained roughly flat compared to the same period a year ago at 8.9 million tons.

Coal production from Appalachian mines went up 4.7% year over year to 3.9 million tons, from 3.7 million tons a year ago.

The Interior region's production posted a 2% cutback to 2.8 million tons from the prior year's 2.9 million tons. 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 indicates both cars originated on their lines during the week and cars received from a connecting railroad during the same week.