Looking at the figures for the fourth quarter of 2015-16 (January-March, Q4 2015-16), the Office of Rail and Road said the total amount of freight moved reached 4.2 billion net tonne kilometres (ntkm) - 1.6 billion ntkm less than for Q4 2014-15 (down 27.4%).
The biggest reason for this was coal, which fell 1.4 billion ntkm. The amount of coal moved (0.46 billion ntkm) was the lowest in any quarter since the start of the time series in 1998-99.
In Q4, Domestic Intermodal accounted for the largest proportion of total freight moved (1.6 billion ntkm, 37.0%), followed by Construction (0.9 billion ntkm, 22.5%). Overall, five of the seven commodities recorded a decrease in Q4 2015-16 compared with Q4 2014-15 (see panel). Only Other (this category includes biomass, which has increased as power station generators are converted from coal to biomass) and Oil and Petroleum recorded an increase.
- For much more on this, read RAIL 803, published today (June 8).