Houston — US coal carloads were at 70,831 in the week ended January 11, up 1.5% from 69,757 a week earlier, but 18.6% lower than 87,228 in the year-ago week, the Association of American Railroads said Wednesday.
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The latest week was the lowest total for the corresponding week in over 10 years.
Coal carloads represented 14.1% of all the traffic on US railways, down from 16.8% a week earlier and 15.7% in the year-ago week.
Coal originations on Canadian railroads -- including the US operations of Canadian National, which serves several mines in the Illinois Basin – were at 7,423 carloads, up from 7,045 in the prior week, but down from 7,777 in the year-ago week.
Of the four major Class I railroads -- Norfolk Southern, CSX, Union Pacific and BNSF -- only BNSF saw a week-on-week decrease. However, all four railroads saw year-on-year decreases.
BNSF reported 34,165 coal carloads in the latest week, down 5.2% from the prior week and 12.1% lower than the year-ago week.
So far in 2020, total BNSF carloads are at 70,186, up 3.4% from the same period a year earlier.
Union Pacific reported 15,255 carloads, up 4% from the previous week but down 32% year on year.
Cumulative coal carloads for UP are at 29,920, down 28.5% from the same period a year ago and the lowest total through the first 44 weeks of a year in over 11 years.
Norfolk Southern saw 14,342 coal carloads in the latest week, up 16.1% from the prior week but 23.9% lower than the year-ago week. Total coal carloads for NS are at 26,690 since January 1, down 28.1% from the same period a year ago.
CSX coal carloads climbed 6.3% week on week to 14,184, but down 13.4% from the year-ago week.
Since January 1, CSX coal carloads are at 27,523, down 9.1% from a year ago.