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Highlights

Year-to-date coal carloads down 18.1% on year

BNSF coal carloads at 11-month low

Houston — US coal carloads fell to a 10-year low 55,542 in the week ended March 14, down 5.3% from a week earlier and 23% lower than the year-ago week, the Association of American Railroads said Wednesday.

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The latest week was down 31.6% from the five-year average and was the lowest corresponding week in over 10 years.

Coal carloads represented 12% of all the traffic on US railways, down from 12.7% a week earlier and 14.4% in the year-ago week.

Since January 1, cumulative coal carloads are at 716,466, down 18.1% from the same period a year ago.

Coal originations on Canadian railroads -- including the US operations of Canadian National, which serves several mines in the Illinois Basin – were at 7,963 carloads, down 5.4% from the prior week but 8.3% higher than the year-ago week.

For the third time this year, all four major Class I railroads -- Norfolk Southern, CSX, Union Pacific and BNSF -- saw week-on-week and year-on-year decreases.

BNSF reported an 11-month low 23,350 coal carloads in the latest week, down 8.5% from the prior week and 15.2% lower than the year-ago week. It was the lowest weekly total since 22,048 in the week ended April 6, 2019.

So far in 2020, total BNSF carloads are at 337,994, down 9.4% from the same period a year earlier.

Union Pacific reported an 11-week low 13,712 carloads, down 0.8% from the previous week and 13.1% lower year on year.

Cumulative coal carloads for UP are at 165,456, down 26.3% from the same period a year ago.

CSX coal carloads fell 6.6% week on week to 11,819, which was also down 27.6% from the year-ago week.

Since January 1, CSX coal carloads are at 142,359, down 17.1% from a year ago.

Norfolk Southern saw 10,168 coal carloads in the latest week, down 3.7% from the prior week and 45.9% lower than the year-ago week.

Total coal carloads for NS are at 130,207 since January 1, down 32.2% from the same period a year ago.

Coal carloads, week ended
14-Mar
Current week
Year to date
2020
2019
Change %
2020
2019
Change %
BNSF
23,350
27,528
-15.2%
337,994
372,979
-9.4%
CSX
11,819
16,332
-27.6%
142,359
171,808
-17.1%
NS
10,168
18,785
-45.9%
130,207
191,943
-32.2%
UP
13,712
15,788
-13.1%
165,456
224,361
-26.3%
Total
59,049
78,433
-24.7%
776,016
961,091
-19.3%
Note: Totals include originations and interchanges.
Source: BNSF Railway, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Union Pacific