Rail Freight Down 4.09% Last Week

U.S. rail freight for the week ending Nov. 20 was down 4.09 percent with intermodal volume being the primary culprit for the falloff.

Class 1 railroads handled 508,309 carloads and intermodal units for the week. The percentage decline is in comparison with volume handled in the same week of 2020.

Carload traffic was 237,244 carloads an increase of 1.6 percent but intermodal traffic was down 10 percent to 271,065 intermodal containers and trailers.

The Association of American Railroads said six of the 10 carload commodity groups that it tracks saw gains last week.

This included metallic ores and metals, up 1,838 carloads, to 21,524; coal, up 1,780 carloads, to 64,719; and chemicals, up 1,437 carloads, to 34,174.

Losing ground were miscellaneous carloads, down 1,009 carloads, to 9,064; motor vehicles and parts, down 887 carloads, to 14,690; and grain, down 710 carloads, to 24,494.

To date railroads have handled a cumulative volume of 10,665,348 carloads, an increase of 7.1 percent compared with the same period in 2020. They have handled 12,695,960 intermodal units, a gain of 6.7 percent.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 46 weeks of 2021 was 23,361,308 carloads and intermodal units, a 6.9 percent gain over last year.

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