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Railcar Loadings Down

Total U.S. rail car loadings down 28% year over year in May topping April Decline.

At the depths of the U.S. Covid-19 Pandemic; May total U.S. rail car loadings dropped -27.7% from the previous year. Excluding coal, total cars loaded was down -21.9% YOY. Early June numbers beginning to show some improvement.

May was another historically negative month for U.S. rail car loadings. In the depth of Covid-19 related shutdowns, U.S. total rail cars loaded in May were down 27.7% over May 2019. This continues the deep decline seen at the tail end of March and fully felt in April. These are continued record drops in rail loadings and some of the lowest car loading counts on record. As we said last month, data will likely get worse before it gets better. That was born out in May. States beginning to reduce restrictions and lift lockdown orders were not in time to see a marked difference in May loadings. It is hopeful May will mark the depth of the decline. June data is tepidly showing some improvement, although still way off June 19 levels and with some mixed indicators. Also, a further look into the May numbers shows while total rail car loadings were down 27.7%. Rail car loadings excluding coal were only down 13%. While still an atrocious number, that is an improvement over the 19.4% decline excluding coal in April. Indicating other rail shipping industries are seeing some return of activity.

Looking in the first week of June total U.S. rail car loadings were down 15.6% for the same week in the previous year. Again, not what we want to see, but considerably better than the -28% we saw in May.  

Despite the improvement in rail car loadings, mixed signals continue to come in and indicate we are definitely not out of the woods. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Weekly Economic Index (“WEI”) measured a GDP of -10.0% for the week ended June 6. It measured -9.60% for the week ended May 30. Again, an improvement over -11.14% week ended May 2, and -12.00% for week ended May 9. Although, not anywhere near where it was tracking in January and February.

With all of this mixed information, it is hard to say what path the recovery will take. Businesses continue to watch the data and health information in a sort of “wait & see” mode. Whichever direction it takes; Andress Engineering stands ready to support our loyal customers.

Andress Engineering has over 60 years as a Trackmobile dealer and industrial capital equipment project firm. We remain open and ready to support the operations of our customers.
We have a fleet of Trackmobiles available for rental. Our service technicians are available 24/7/365. Our Trackmobiles, cranes, chillers, and compressors operate in some of the most critical industries supporting our economy. Our team stands ready to support your application in any way we can.

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