U.S. Rail Traffic Still Lags Behind 2019 Levels

U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 17, 2021, was 513,255 carloads and intermodal units, a 6.6 increase over the same week in 2020, the Association of American Railroads said.

However,  rail volumes for week 28 of 2021 were down 3 percent compared with the same week in 2019.

The Susquehanna Financial Group said the four-week trend was up 9 percent from 2020, but down 2 percent compared with 2019. The report concluded that recovery from the downturn of 2020 isn’t complete yet.

AAR said total U.S. Class I carloads came in at 235,303 for the week ending July 17, up 9.7 percent from the same point in 2020; intermodal volume was 277,952 containers and trailers, up 4.1 percent.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups saw gains compared with the same week last year.

These included coal, up 13,057 carloads, to 69,186; metallic ores and metals, up 7,207 carloads, to 22,975; and chemicals, up 2,785 carloads, to 32,784.

Losing ground were motor vehicles and parts, down 1,750 carloads, to 12,049; grain, down 1,384 carloads, to 20,964; and farm products excluding grain, and food, down 175 carloads, to 15,593.

For the first 28 weeks of this year, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 6,448,125 carloads, an increase of 9.3 percent from the same week in 2020; and 7,851,547 intermodal units, increasing 16.3 percent from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 28 weeks of 2021 was 14,299,672 carloads and intermodal units, a 13 percent boost from 2020.

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