Posts Tagged ‘freight statistics’

U.S. Freight Traffic Up 0.5% in October

November 3, 2022

Rail freight traffic in October was up 0.5 percent the Association of American Railroads said on Wednesday.

U.S. railroads originated 952,074 carloads last month, the AAR said, which was 5,121 carloads more than they handled in October 2021.

The totals included 1,062,422 containers and trailers, which was a drop of 1.4 percent or 15,095 units, compared with October 2021.

The combined, carload and intermodal originations of 2,014,496 was down 0.5 percent, or 9,974 carloads and intermodal units, from last year.

AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray said October is usually one of the highest-volume months of the year for rail carloads and has proven to be the best month thus far in 2022.

Gray said intermodal traffic remains subdued largely because of high inventories at many retailers, lower port volumes and still-scarce warehouse capacity for many rail intermodal customers.

During October seven of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by AAR posted gains.

They included coal, up 14,937 carloads or 5.8 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 8,615 carloads or 10.7 percent; and motor vehicles and parts, up 5,998 carloads or 11.4 percent. Losing ground were chemicals, down 6,195 carloads or 4.8 percent; primary metal products, down 4,645 carloads or 13.2 percent; and all other carloads, down 4,209 carloads or 16.8 percent.

All comparisons are with October 2021.

Gray noted that grain traffic surged because producers chose rail as an alternative to the Mississippi River constraints. He said motor vehicles traffic had one of its better months since before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in March 2020.

“Carloads of chemicals were down in part because of high natural gas feedstock prices,” Gray said in a statement.

Excluding coal, carloads were down 9,816, or 1.4 percent, in October compared with October 2021. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 8,950, or 1.5 percent.

AAR said rail freight volume in October was similar to the result of July and August when carloads were up and intermodal volume was down.

In September carloads and intermodal volume alike were down compared to the same month in 2021.

Thus far in 2022, U.S. carload traffic has been 9,971,376 carloads, up 0.1 percent, or 14,912 carloads, compared with the first 10 months of 2021.

Intermodal traffic has been 11,321,976 intermodal units, down 4.8 percent, or 567,366 containers and trailers.

Total combined freight traffic for the first 43 weeks of 2022 was 21,293,352 carloads and intermodal units, a 2.5 percent decline compared with last year.

Rail Freight Continued ‘Inflated’ Increases

May 27, 2021

U.S. rail freight For the week ending May 22 totaled 528,774 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 23.4 percent compared with the same week in 2020, the Association of American Railroads said.

Total carloads were 242,227, a 27.2 percent increase while intermodal volume was 286,547 containers and trailers, a 20.4 percent jump.

AAR noted that some percentage changes are inflated because of the widespread 2020 shutdowns and subsequent large reduction in rail volumes that affected some economic sectors.

All 10 carload commodity groups posted gains when compared with the same week in 2020. They included coal, up 17,877 carloads, to 64,641; motor vehicles and parts, up 8,887 carloads, to 13,763; and metallic ores and metals, up 8,697 carloads, to 23,516.

For the first 20 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported a cumulative volume of 4,583,989 carloads, a gain of 6.2 percent; and 5,658,401 intermodal units, a rise of 18.6 percent from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 20 weeks of 2021 was 10,242,390 carloads and intermodal units, a 12.7 percent increase from 2020.

Freight Traffic Continues Double-Digit Gains

April 29, 2021

U.S. rail freight traffic was up during the week ending April 24 with intermodal showing a whopping double-digit percent gain.

Of course all weekly traffic figures for the next several weeks come with a footnote, namely that they are inflated when compared to a year ago because in 2020 the economy fell into recession in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic and freight traffic fell with it.

Nonetheless, the Association of American Railroads said the largest monthly gain ever for intermodal came in March 2021 when it rose 24 percent over March 2020. Thus far in April there have been two weeks of 28 percent gains.

For the week ending April 24 total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 538,184 carloads and intermodal units, a 30 percent increase over the same week last year.

Total carloads were 240,075 and intermodal was 298,109 containers and trailers, increasing 25 percent and 34.3 percent, respectively, over the same point in 2020.

All 10 carload commodity groups saw increases last week when compared to 2020.

They included coal, up 16,126 carloads, to 64,252; motor vehicles and parts, up 9,067 carloads, to 11,302; and chemicals, up 6,759 carloads, to 34,843.

For the first 16 weeks of 2021, the cumulative volume has been carloads, up 1.5 percent from the same period in 2020; and 4,493,689 intermodal units, up 16.8 percent from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 16 weeks of 2021 was 8,115,768 carloads and intermodal units, up 9.4 percent.

Rail Freight Traffic Down 23.3% Last Week

April 24, 2020

Rail freight traffic continued to slide last week with the Association of American Railroads reporting that for the week ending April 18 that traffic was down 23.3 percent.

Railroads handled 403,283 carloads and intermodal units during the week. The comparison is with the same week in 2019.

Total carloads for the week ending April 18 were 189,598 carloads, down 27.5 percent while intermodal volume was 213,685 containers and trailers, down 19.1 percent.

In a news release, AAR said none of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2019.

Among the declines were coal, down 35,555 carloads, to 48,423; motor vehicles and parts, down 14,459 carloads, to 1,943; and non-metallic minerals, down 5,188 carloads, to 30,377.

“Rail volumes suffered again last week as extremely difficult times for rail customers and the economy continued,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray in a statement.

For the first 16 weeks of 2020, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,592,286 carloads, down 9.5 percent from the same point last year; and 3,823,931 intermodal units, down 10.4 percent from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 16 weeks of 2020 was 7,416,217 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 10 percent compared with last year.

Freight Traffic Fell 6.3% in June

July 6, 2019

Freight traffic declined 6.3 percent in June, making it the first consecutive month that it has fallen on a year-over-year basis.

Figures released by the Association of American Railroads showed that roads last month originated 1,023,394 carloads, down 5.3 percent, and 1,075,974 containers and trailers, down 7.2 percent when compared with June 2018.

The combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations dropped 6.3 percent to 2,099,368 units. Only four of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR posted gains in June.

The biggest gainer was petroleum and petroleum products, which were up 18.1 percent. Nonmetallic minerals were up 5.1 percent.

Posting declines were sand and gravel, down 9.9 percent; coal, down 9 percent; and grain, down 7.1 percent.

Excluding coal and grain, U.S. carloads decreased only 3.1 percent in June.

“Manufacturing is responsible for much of the rail traffic base, but U.S. manufacturing output has been falling for several months. Housing, too, is in the doldrums, and trade is suffering because of tensions with trading partners overseas,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a statement. “Taken together, demand for rail service just isn’t as strong as it was six months or a year ago.”

Carload, Intermodal Traffic Rose in March

April 5, 2018

U.S. railroads posted increases in carload and intermodal traffic in March, with about half of the categories tracked by the Association of American Railroads posting gains.

AAR said the railroads originated 1,050,653 carloads in March 2018, an increase of 3.6 percent, or 36,157 carloads, from March 2017.

U.S. railroads also originated 1,082,239 containers and trailers in March 2018, up 6.5 percent, or 66,151 units, from the same month last year.

The combined carload and intermodal originations in March 2018 were 2,132,892, up 5 percent, or 102,308 carloads and intermodal units from March 2017.

Commodities posting increases during March when compared with the same month a year ago included coal, up 24,867 carloads or 7.9 percent; chemicals, up 7,492 carloads or 5.9 percent; and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 7,124 carloads or 8 percent.

Seeing declines were non-metallic minerals, down 3,563 carloads or 19.5 percent; motor vehicles and parts, down 2,257 carloads or 3.2 percent; and coke, down 1,423 carloads or 8.1 percent.

“Railroads are a derived-demand industry,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray in a news release.

“Their level of business depends to a large degree on what’s happening elsewhere in the economy. There’s always some economic uncertainty — today that involves, among other things, trade relations, commodity prices, and what the Fed will do about interest rates — but economic signals today are mostly positive. Rail traffic in March was largely positive, too, at least in terms of traffic segments that are most sensitive to what’s going on in the economy.”

Excluding coal, carloads were up 11,290 carloads, or 1.6 percent, in March 2018 when compared to March 2017. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 11,042 carloads, or 1.8 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first three months of 2018 have been 3,296,199 carloads, down 0.3 percent, or 9,027 carloads, from the same period last year; and 3,496,381 intermodal units, up 5.5 percent, or 181,304 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 13 weeks of 2018 was 6,792,580 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 2.6 percent compared to last year.

Intermodal Continued to Grow in February

March 9, 2018

Intermodal traffic continues to grow at U.S. Railroads, the Association of American Railroads reported this week.

The railroads during February carried 1,104,001 containers and trailers, an increase of 6.9 percent over February 2017’s volume.

The AAR said that during February carload volume slipped 0.3 percent to 1,028,141 units.

For the month U.S. railroads reported a combined 2,132,142 carloads and intermodal units, marking a 3.3 percent increase over last year.

Nine of the 20 carload commodities that AAR tracks each month logged carload gains in February compared with the same month in 2017. Those included metallic ores, up 19.4 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel shipments, up 7.5 percent; and chemicals, up 3.4 percent.

Commodities that saw declines included coal, down 1.7 percent; grain, down 5.3 percent; and motor vehicles and parts, down 4.5 percent.

“Rail carloads in February, like in many other recent months, were held back by declines in coal, grain, and motor vehicles,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a news release. “Declines in those categories are unfortunate, but they don’t reflect general weakness in the economy. Excluding them, carloads were up a reasonably solid 2.1 percent in February.”

Gray said February was the best month ever for carloads of chemicals and the second best for intermodal volume.

“While these are good signs for the broader economy going forward, they are potentially compromised by the uncertainty created by recent developments in trade policy,” he said.

Railroads Eke Out Traffic Gain in January

February 9, 2018

Although carload fell 3.4 percent in January, overall traffic was up 0.1 percent due in part to increases in intermodal volume the Association for American Ralroads reported.

Last month U.S. railroads moved 1,217,405 carloads and 1,310,141 containers and trailers. The latter was an increase of 3.5 percent when compared with January 2017.

Eight of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by AAR posted gains compared with a year ago.

This included crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 3,498 carloads or 3.8 percent; petroleum and petroleum products, up 3,196 carloads or 6.4 percent; and lumber and wood products, up 1,167 carloads or 8 percent.

Carload commodity categories that fell included coal, down 25,083 carloads or 5.8 percent; motor vehicles and parts, down 8,372 carloads or 10.1 percent; and grain, down 6,917 carloads or 5.8 percent.

“Recent stock market gyrations remind all of us that, when it comes to things related to the economy, conditions can change quickly. For now, though, rail volumes are not flashing strong warning signs,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a statement.

Gray cited gains in intermodal volume, saying it has picked up where it left off last year when it set a record

“To be sure, we could do without January’s sharp fall in motor vehicle and coal carloads, among others, but we’re hopeful that the basic economy remains on a firm footing and that the recent turmoil in the markets simply represents an adjustment to potential interest rate changes,” he said.

Excluding coal, carloads were down 17,348 carloads, or 2.1 percent, in January 2018 from January 2017. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 10,431 carloads, or 1.5 percent.

So far this year, CSX’s total volume is down 6.2 percent, with carloads off 10 percent and intermodal units down 1.2 percent, the AAR said.

Norfolk Southern saw its traffic dip just 0.5 percent in January, while its intermodal traffic grew 6 percent.

Intermodal Traffic Did Well in August

September 7, 2017

August was a banner month for intermodal traffic.

The Association of American Railroads said U.S. railroads posted a monthly record by originating 1,401,081 containers and trailers, a gain of 5.6 percent when compared with August 2016.

Overall, the railroads originated 1,343,405 carloads, which was down 0.3 percent. Combined carload and intermodal originations were 2,744,486 units, up 2.6 percent.

For the month, seven of the 20 carload commodity categories that the AAR tracks posted gains compared with August 2016.

These included coal, 5.8 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, 12.1 percent, and metallic ores, 16.1 percent.

Posting declines were grain, 20.4 percent; petroleum and petroleum products, 15.8 percent, and motor vehicles and parts, 11.2 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads were down 3.4 percent in August compared with the same month in 2016. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 0.8 percent.

Total U.S. traffic for the first eight months of 2017 has been 9,062,097 carloads, up 4.5 percent compared with 2016, and 9,352,108 intermodal units, up 3.4 percent.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 35 weeks of 2017 has been 18,414,205 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 4 percent.

“Rail traffic in August was a mixed bag, with gains in coal and sand, among other commodities, offset by declines in grain, autos, and crude oil,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “These results reflect the fact that different rail customer segments are always facing different market dynamics, including, during the last week of August, Hurricane Harvey.”

Indiana Port Sets Quarterly Record

February 7, 2017

The Port of Indiana-Mount Vernon has reported handling a record 2.5 million tons of cargo during the fourth quarter of 2016.

Ports of IndianaThat broke the record set in the fourth quarter of 2014. In a news release, the port said its fourth quarter 2016 volume was 44 percent higher than the previous record and is the highest quarterly volume for any port in Ports of Indiana history.

During 2016, the port handled 6.4 million tons of cargo, an increase of 34 percent from its previous five-year average and its second highest annual tonnage following the record 6.6 million tons in 2015.

The principal cargoes handled in 2016 were coal, grain, soy products, ethanol, dried distiller grains, minerals and fertilizer.

Salt shipments rose 32 percent, while talc and barite — two minerals used in the manufacturing of plastics and other products —were up a combined 23 percent.

In another development, two port companies announced or completed major expansions in 2016.

Consolidated Grain and Barge said it would invest more than $31 million to increase its soybean processing capabilities.

Valero Renewable Fuels, a producer of ethanol and a subsidiary of Valero Energy, completed a multi-million dollar project that provided new corn receiving equipment and a new distiller grain dryer system.