Rail Volume Down 5 Percent in 2016, AAR Says

Total rail traffic volume in the United States in 2016 was 26,587,351 carloads and intermodal units, down 5 percent or 1,389,323 carloads and intermodal units from the same point last year.

Total U.S. carload traffic for 2016 was 13,096,860 carloads, down 8.2 percent or 1,169,152 carloads, from a year earlier. Meanwhile, intermodal containers and trailers were 13,490,491 units, down 1.6 percent or 220,171 containers and trailers when compared to 2015.

“Last year was challenging for freight railroads,” AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray said in a news release. “Rail carloads were down for the second consecutive year, due mainly to a weak manufacturing economy and turmoil in energy markets, while intermodal failed to set its fourth straight annual record.  That said, there are signs that the economy may be gradually returning to a period of growth.”