The Association of American Railroads (AAR) said recently that March rail carload traffic fell by 14.2 percent from a year ago.
The AAR also said that seven carload categories saw volume increases over the previous year. The association tracks 20 categories. Categories with carload gains included automotive parts and chemicals. Petroleum, metallic ores and coal saw decreased activity compared with March 2015.
"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 Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John Gray said. "That said, most economists are calling for continued slow, but steady, economic growth for the U.S. in the months ahead. Railroads stand ready to provide the freight transportation service the economy will require."
Alongside the March report, the association also released data from the week ending April 2. This portion of the report indicates that carloads and intermodal units saw volume decrease by 10.4 percent over the same week in 2015.
For the first quarter of 2016, carload volume totaled 3,143,251 carloads, down 13.8 percent from a year ago, and intermodal units came in at 3,339,672, up 1.5 percent from a year ago.