Rail Freight Up 12.5% Last Week

The Association of American Railroads said that U.S. rail traffic for the week ending June 19 was 514,112 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 12.5 percent compared with the same week in 2020.

AAR said that represents 232,144 carloads, up 15.1 percent vs. 2020, and 281,968 intermodal containers and trailers, up 10.4 percent vs. 2020.

However, freight volume shows signs of starting to level off.

The previous two weekly rail traffic totals were up similarly from the same period in 2020, while the May weekly totals saw increases of about 25 percent to 35 percent over 2020.

AAR officials said that although freight volume continues to recover from the doldrums of last year the gains may be leveling off or even slowing a bit.

Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase for the week.

They included coal, up 15,512 carloads, to 67,819; metallic ores and metals, up 9,302 carloads, to 23,726; and chemicals, up 3,990 carloads, to 32,401.

Commodity groups that fell compared with the same week in 2020 were grain, down 1,820 carloads, to 19,617; miscellaneous carloads, down 478 carloads, to 9,290; and motor vehicles and parts, down 303 carloads, to 12,534.

For the first 24 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 5,528,562 carloads, an 8.6 percent gain over the same week in 2020. The 6,776,944 intermodal units represented a 18.2 percent gain.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 24 weeks of 2021 was 12,305,506 carloads and intermodal units, rising 13.7 percent vs. 2020.

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