Rail Freight Traffic in July Was Mixed Picture

The good news in the rail traffic report for July is that 10 of the 20 carload commodities tracked by the Association of American Railroads posted gains.

But the other 10 saw declines, which led AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray to say in a statement that rail traffic for the month was evenly balanced between gains and losses.

“As such, it does not provide definitive evidence regarding the state of the overall economy,” Gray said. “In that respect, it is very similar to most other recent economic indicators.”

U.S. Class I railroads handled 906,903 carloads in July, an increase of 0.2 percent, or 2,213 carloads when compared with July 2021.

That was offset by the traffic of 1,033,906 containers and trailers, which represented a decline of 3 percent, or 32,094 units.

Combined carload and intermodal traffic for the month was 1,940,809, down 1.5  percent, or 29,881 carloads and intermodal units when compared with July 2021.

AAR said commodities that gained ground during July when compared to the same month in 2021 included coal, up 5,588 carloads or 2.2 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 5,197 carloads or 6.7 percent; and motor vehicles and parts, up 3,726 carloads or 8.2 percent.

Losing ground were primary metal products, down 7,065 carloads or 19.2  percent; all other carloads, down 3,311 carloads or 15.1  percent; and stone, clay and glass products, down 2,202 carloads or 6.7  percent.

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