North American forest products down 1.5% in first quarter 2016; BNSF pulp and paper freight up 6.2%, G&W lower

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North American forest products down 1.5% in first quarter 2016; BNSF pulp and paper freight up 6.2%, G&W lower

April 13, 2016 - 16:41
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OAKLAND, CA, April 13, 2016 (RISI) -North American forest products railroad freight was down 5.1% in the latest week ending Apr. 9, 2016, to 18,143 carloads, the Assn of American and through 14 weeks of 2016 at 258,392 carloads was down 1.8%.

In the week, US forest products carloads were down 9.4%, Canada was up 0.6%, and Mexico was 27.8% higher, AAR showed.

For the first quarter 2016 with 13 weeks ending Apr. 2, AAR showed North American forest products freight was off 1.5% to 240,249 carloads, with the US down 5.7% to 134,951 carloads, Canada up 4.9% to 105,033 carloads and Mexico 56% lower to 265 carloads.

BNSF Railwayreported its pulp and paper freight through Apr. 2 was up 6.2% to 17,329 carloads and lumber/wood was 5.7% higher to 20,283 carloads.

Genesee & Wyomingreported pulp and paper freight in March were down 8.2% from 2015 to 13,442 carloads and in first quarter were 3.7% lower to 41,468 carloads. Lumber and forest products volume was up 8.7% in March to 12,780 carloads and 6.9% higher in the quarter to 34,832 carloads.  

AAR showed total carloads for 13 weeks ending Apr. 2 were down 12.2% from 2015 with coal down 31.2%, and petroleum 16.6% lower. Intermodal was up 1% and total traffic down 6.1%.

"Railroads are still looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, and for some commodities, including coal and other energy-related products, it's just not there yet," AAR commented. "That said, most economists are calling for continued slow but steady economic growth for the US in the months ahead."