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US coal rail traffic, production up by less than 5% in latest week

Total U.S. coal rail traffic for the week that ended Aug. 5 was up 3.4% to 92,517 carloads, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

Year-to-date coal rail traffic climbed 15.3% through the week, while overall rail traffic inched up 4.2% year over year to 554,822 carloads and intermodal units.

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BNSF Railway Co. reached 40,164 carloads in the week that ended Aug. 5, slipping by less than 1% from last week's 40,518 carloads and the year-ago period's 40,472 carloads.

Union Pacific Corp.'s coal shipment volumes stood at 25,871 carloads, climbing 3% from the previous week's 25,126 carloads, but went down by less than 1% from the year-ago period's 25,912 carloads.

Eastern railroad CSX Transportation Inc.'s coal shipment volumes clocked in at 14,280 carloads, sliding 1.4% from the previous week's 14,484 carloads and 5.5% compared to 15,117 carloads in the year-ago week.

Norfolk Southern Corp.'s coal shipment volumes totaled 20,624 carloads, up 8.7% from the previous week's 18,966 carloads and 29.4% from the prior year's 15,939 carloads.

Kansas City Southern Railway Co.'s latest weekly coal shipment volume showed 3,986 carloads, surging 48.5% from the previous week's 2,684 carloads. The railroad serves 10 U.S. states and Mexico.

YTD coal production up 14.5% YOY

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total U.S. coal production posted a minimal increase of 4.7% year over year to 16.1 million tons, compared with 15.4 million tons during the same period in 2016.

For the 52 weeks that ended Aug. 5, production clocked in at 800.5 million tons, a slight boost of 5.5% year over year, while year-to-date coal output picked up 14.5% year over year to 465.8 million tons.

The Western region's coal production, at 9.3 million tons, inched up 2.6% from the previous year's 9.0 million tons. Data for the Western region covers Powder River Basin mines.

Coal production from Appalachian mines totaled 3.9 million tons, a 9.6% jump from the year-ago week's 3.5 million tons.

The Interior region's production registered a 5.3% gain to 3.0 million tons, from the prior year's 2.8 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.