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US coal carload volumes fall 1.2%: AAR

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US coal carload volumes fall 1.2%: AAR

Highlights

Dip in Canadian originations drives overall decline

Overall numbers on pace to beat 2020 in a week

Coal carload originations dipped 1.2% to 63,947 for the week ending Nov. 27, according to a Dec. 1 report from the Association of American Railroads.

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The figure stands as the lowest weekly total since Oct. 16, when 57,772 originations were reported.

Overall coal carload numbers topped the 3 million mark and are on pace next week to exceed 2020 totals.

Coal originations on Canadian railroads — including US operations of Canadian National, which serves some mines in the Illinois Basin — fell more than 50% from previous year totals. The 3,681 carloads stood 948 behind the previous week's total, a dip of 20.5%. It stands as the lowest weekly total since July 10. Still, Canadian coal carload originations for this year top 2020 totals by 12.1% at 342,221.

The four major Class I railroads posted split results for the week, with gains from BNSF and Union Pacific. BNSF's 32,194 coal carload originations and interchanges represented a 6.1% increase from Nov. 20 totals; UP's 6.5% weekly gain added up to 15,519 carloads. CSX fell 23.7% from the previous week with a 9,345 total, and Norfolk Southern posted its first four-digit totals since Oct. 23 with 9,805 carloads, representing an 11.3% week-on-week decline.

All four major railroads posted higher year-to-date totals than 2020 figures. BNSF's 1.38 million coal carloads for 2021 lead the field and are 11.3% larger than last year's figure. CSX stands 13.1% higher than 2020 with 588,425 coal carloads, and NS's 556,810 number is up 14.7% from the same time last year. UP's 684,271 carloads represent a 3.9% increase over corresponding 2020 totals.

AAR reported weekly coal carloads represented 14.8% of the 430,793 total, the highest percentage since Sept. 11 and a 7.4% year-on-year increase.