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North American forest products rail freight drops 14.2% in latest week, down 8.5% year-to-date

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North American forest products rail freight drops 14.2% in latest week, down 8.5% year-to-date

July 04, 2020 - 13:12
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SAN FRANCISCO, July 4, 2020 (Fastmarkets RISI) -North American forest products railroad freight was down 14.2% in the latest week ending June 27 from a year ago at 14,636 carloads, the Assn of American Railroads reported. Year-to-date volume was 8.5% lower at 404,305 carloads.

US forest products freight in the week was down 13% to 8,831 carloads, and through 26 weeks was 6.6% lower to 241,182 carloads.

Canada forest products volume dropped 15.8% in the week to 5,785 carloads and year-to-date was down 11.3% to 162,449 units. Mexico was down 42.9% to 20 carloads and up 6.1% to 674 units respectively.

“June was a month in which the slow recovery process that began in early May, began to accelerate,” AAR Senior VP John T. Gray commented in a press release. “By the end of June, freight loadings had improved by about 60,000 carload and intermodal units weekly over where they had been in late April. After recording record lows in early May, coal finally stabilized at about 50,000 carloads per week by the end of June. Additionally, the reopening of automotive plants that began in early June has regrown that business from as little as 2,000 weekly loads to over 13,000 by the end of the month. This also contributed to stabilization for loadings of products that support auto production such as metals, glass and plastics. However, leading the way upward was the intermodal business which, over the last two months, grew to match volumes last seen around the first of February. While all of these results are encouraging they will be much more robust if the current trend continues in the weeks following the July 4th holiday.”

Total North American carloads were down 21.8% in the week and 14.2% lower year-to-date. Through 26 weeks, coal volume was down 26.2%, motor vehicles were 37.9% lower, and chemicals were down 4.7%.