COLUMN-U.S. rail freight falls as industrial economy struggles: Kemp
(John Kemp is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own)
* Rail freight (ton-miles): tmsnrt.rs/1GJfz87
* Rail freight (percent chg): tmsnrt.rs/1GJfz89
By John Kemp
LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Freight carried by major U.S. railroads fell by 7 percent in the second quarter of 2015 compared with the same period in 2014, confirming that large parts of the industrial economy are in recession.
The major Class 1 railroads carried 431 billion ton-miles of freight in the three months ending June, down from 463 billion ton-miles in 2014, according to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board (tmsnrt.rs/1GJfz87).
Changes in freight volumes reflect broader difficulties in the industrial economy.
Rail operators have been struck by a perfect storm which has hit both their traditional and new business lines (tmsnrt.rs/1GJfz89).
Coal shipments to power plants, the biggest commodity on the network, accounting for about one-third of total tonnage, have been hit by a combination of environmental regulations and low gas prices. Continued...