U.S. Rail Freight Down 2.6% Last Week

U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Aug. 21 fell 2.6 percent when compared to the same week in 2020, the Association of American Railroads reported.

The carriers handled 501,273 carloads and intermodal units, AAR said.

That also is a decline compared to the same week in 2019 Susquehanna Financial Group Analyst Bascome Majors said.

Majors said the four-week trend was up 1 percent vs. 2020 and down 6 percent from 2019.

AAR said Class 1 railroads last week handled 230,754 carloads, an increase of 0.4 percent and 270,519 containers and trailers, a fall of 5.1 percent compared with 2020.

It was the third consecutive week that intermodal posted declines compared with 2020.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR saw increases compared with the same week in 2020.

They included metallic ores and metals, up 4,551 carloads, to 23,522; nonmetallic minerals, up 2,802 carloads, to 33,109; and miscellaneous carloads, up 1,042 carloads, to 10,653.

Losing ground were grain, down 4,483 carloads, to 18,098; motor vehicles and parts, down 2,513 carloads, to 13,974; and farm products excluding grain, and food, down 1,042 carloads, to 14,906.

For the first 33 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads handled cumulative volume of 7,607,296 carloads, a gain of 8.6 percent from the same point last year; and 9,213,825 intermodal units, an increase of 13.3 percent over 2020.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 33 weeks of 2021 was 16,821,121 carloads and intermodal units, rising 11.1 percent from last year.

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