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Weekly US coal train loadings fall to over six-year low: STB

Highlights

Loadings fall 0.5% on week, 42.2% on year

Illinois Basin loadings climb to 12-week high

Houston — US coal train loadings fell for the fourth straight week to a more than six-year low in the week that ended April 24, despite loadings out of the Illinois Basin and Powder River Basin rising week on week, Surface Transportation Board data showed Friday.

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Data filed to the STB by the four major US Class I railroads — CSX, Union Pacific, BNSF and Norfolk Southern — show US loadings averaged 57.5 trains/day, down 0.5% from 57.8 trains/day in the prior week and 42.2% lower than the 99.6 trains/day averaged in the year-ago week.

Since January 1, total loadings have averaged 72.8 trains/day, down from a 92 trains/day average in the same period a year ago.

Of the four major basins, the Illinois Basin and Powder River Basin were the only ones to see a week-on-week increase.

Average PRB loadings ticked higher to 30.3 trains/day in the latest week, up from a 12-month low of 29.7 trains/day in the prior week, but down from 52.1 trains/day in the year-ago week.

PRB loadings this year are averaging 40.7 trains/day, down from 48.3 trains/day in the same period a year ago.

Illinois Basin loadings reached a 12-week high of 5 trains/day, up from 4.3 trains/day a week earlier but lower than the 7.4 trains/day average in the year ago-week. Since January 1, Illinois Basin loadings have averaged 4.1 trains/day, down from 7.2 trains/day a year ago.

Central Appalachia loadings were at a 17-week low of 9.8 trains trains/day, down from 10.3 trains/day a week earlier and 18.8 trains/day in the year-ago week.

Loadings from the CAPP region in 2020 have averaged 12.8 trains/day, down from 16.4 trains/day in the year-ago period.

Loadings in Northern Appalachia fell to a nine-month low of 6.3 trains/day, from 6.9 trains/day a week ago and 13.1 trains/day in the year-ago week.

Cumulative loadings in Northern Appalachia have averaged 9.1 trains/day in 2020, down from 12.3 trains/day in the year-ago period.

Loadings from outside of the primary basins fell to 6.1 trains/day, down from a 12-week high of 6.6 trains/day a week earlier and 8.2 trains/day in the year-ago week.