The amount of the fossil fuel carried on trains is up nearly 50% from April
Coal is hitching a ride on US rails again.
The bulky fossil fuel has been under siege by environmental rules and competition from cheap shale gas. Railroads, the only practical way to haul coal across land, suffered collateral damage.
But the story has shifted in the past few months. The amount of coal carried on trains has climbed nearly 50 per cent from an April nadir, according to the Association of American Railroads. Operators have confirmed the bump in traffic in new quarterly results.
Investors want to know whether the worst is over for the railroads’ coal businesses, which once comprised nearly a third of revenues.
“They’ve rebounded off the bottom. As to how durable that situation is, that’s a different question,” says Larry Gross of FTR, a freight transport consultancy.
Volumes are below levels of previous years.