North American forest products rail freight down 0.5% in FY 2015

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North American forest products rail freight down 0.5% in FY 2015

January 08, 2016 - 13:19
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OAKLAND, CA, Jan. 8, 2016 (RISI) -North American forest products rail freight in 2015 was off 0.5% from last year at 962,333 carloads, the Assn of American Railroads reported. Volume in the final week of the year ending Jan. 2, 2016, was down 2.7%. Total North American carloads for the year were down 5.8% to 19.04 million.

US forest products freight for the full year was down 3.4% to 563,823 carloads. Total US carload freight was 6.1% lower in 2015 at 14.3 million carloads.

Canadian forest products rail volume was up 4% in 2015 to 396,442 carloads. Total carload freight was down 6.4% to 3.9 million carloads.

Mexico forest products freight dropped 26.4% in the year to 2,068 carloads and total rail volume was up 1.7% to 835,555 carloads, AAR showed.

"Weaknesses in energy and manufacturing, as well as, world economic softening, had a negative impact on both carload and intermodal traffic in 2015," said AAR senior VP of Policy and Economics John T. Gray. "Railroads can't do much about the macroeconomic environment, but what they have done and are doing is making sure they operate safely and efficiently to maximize their customers' opportunities to grow their own business. The nation's railroads are well positioned to serve their customers in 2016."

Total North American rail volume for 2015 was 36.4 million carloads and intermodal units, down 2.2% compared with 2014. Among major commodities, North American coal freight in 2015 was 12% lower to 5.5 million carloads, chemicals were off 0.1% to 2.2 million carloads, and ores and metals were down 13.7% to 2 million carloads.

BNSF Railwayreported pulp and paper freight in 2015 at 71,551 carloads was up 1.4%, and in fourth quarter was up 6.1%. Lumber/wood freight for the year at 81,543 carloads was up 4.4% and in fourth quarter was 5.3% above 2014.