October's overall freight rail traffic down from 2014

Rail shipping is down in most sectors, according to recently released numbers from the American Association of Railroads (AAR). 

In October, traffic totaled 1,124,470 carloads, a decrease of 83,578 carloads, or 6.9 percent, compared to October 2014.

“Railroads are a derived-demand industry, meaning that demand for rail service is a function of demand downstream for the products railroads haul,” AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John Gray said.

Intermodal carloads and containers and trailers originating in the U.S. also saw decreases from last year. However, the report wasn’t all bad news for the cargo rail industry.

“There is a bright spot in the overall decrease in carloads. The increase in rail carloads of automotive traffic reflects increased sales and production for U.S. automakers,” AAR spokesperson Kristin Clarkson said. “Additionally, rail intermodal volume has been strong in 2015.”

Motor vehicles and parts increased 6.7 percent over last October. Four other sectors (of 20 total) saw improvement over last year’s numbers, including grain and the uncategorized carloads that carry everything from new rail cars and military equipment to asphalt roofing and appliances.

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