Rail Freight Continued ‘Inflated’ Increases

U.S. rail freight For the week ending May 22 totaled 528,774 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 23.4 percent compared with the same week in 2020, the Association of American Railroads said.

Total carloads were 242,227, a 27.2 percent increase while intermodal volume was 286,547 containers and trailers, a 20.4 percent jump.

AAR noted that some percentage changes are inflated because of the widespread 2020 shutdowns and subsequent large reduction in rail volumes that affected some economic sectors.

All 10 carload commodity groups posted gains when compared with the same week in 2020. They included coal, up 17,877 carloads, to 64,641; motor vehicles and parts, up 8,887 carloads, to 13,763; and metallic ores and metals, up 8,697 carloads, to 23,516.

For the first 20 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported a cumulative volume of 4,583,989 carloads, a gain of 6.2 percent; and 5,658,401 intermodal units, a rise of 18.6 percent from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 20 weeks of 2021 was 10,242,390 carloads and intermodal units, a 12.7 percent increase from 2020.

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