Intermodal Holds Back U.S. Freight Traffic

Intermodal continued to hold back overall U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Sept. 25.

The Association of American Railroads said traffic last week was 511,713 carloads and intermodal units, a 1.3 percent decline compared with the same period in 2020.

U.S. Class I railroads hauled 239,069 carloads, increasing 6.6 percent while also hauling 272,644 containers and trailers, a decline of 7.3 percent from last year.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted gains. They included coal, up 11,681 carloads, to 70,002; metallic ores and metals, up 4,418 carloads, to 24,120; and nonmetallic minerals, up 4,103 carloads, to 34,083.

Losing ground were motor vehicles and parts, down 4,774 carloads, to 11,563; grain, down 3,128 carloads, to 21,864; and farm products excluding grain, and food, down 169 carloads, to 15,503.

For the first 38 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads handled 8,767,729 carloads, an 8 percent increase, and 10,538,169 intermodal units, a 10.4 percent gain over 2020.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 38 weeks was 19,305,898 carloads and intermodal units, rising 9.3 percent from last year.

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