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Coal falloff hurts 4Q traffic at Genesee & Wyoming

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) -- A disruption in coal shipments helped push down traffic by 6.9 percent at Genesee & Wyoming, the regional freight railroad said Tuesday.

The decline would have been 8.7 percent if not for railroads acquired since the fourth quarter of 2011.

The company said that the 17.7 percent drop in coal shipments — its single biggest category — was mostly because of the timing of shipments in its Illinois region and a planned maintenance outage at a coal utility in its Ohio region.

Farm shipments declined as well, mostly in Australia, because of an accelerated shipping schedule earlier in the year, and because of a mechanical failure at an export grain terminal in Adelaide, South Australia. That terminal reopened this month.

All told, it carried 229,818 carloads in the quarter, down from 246,794 a year earlier. It recorded gains for lumber and forest products, pulp and paper, metal ores, petroleum products, and autos and auto parts.

December carloads fell 9.1 percent, or 11 percent not counting recently-acquired operations. Coal carloads dropped 31.9 percent in December..