Posts Tagged ‘freight traffic’

U.S. Rail Freight Traffic Had Mixed March

April 7, 2022

U.S. rail freight traffic was decidedly mixed during March, the Association of American Railroads reported.

Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations for the month were 2,507,684, a decline of 3 percent or 78,714 carloads and intermodal units when compared with March 2021.

That breaks down to 1,169,546 carloads—up 1.2 percent or 13,456 carloads compared with the same month in 202.

Intermodal traffic for March 2022 was 1,338,138 containers and trailers, a drop of 6.4 percent or 92,170 units compared with last year.

John T. Gray, AAR senior vice president, said chemical carload traffic had its best month ever but grain, petroleum products and papers products posted significant declines.

At the same time Gray said carloads of crushed stone and sand, food products, lumber, and motor vehicles “were higher than they’ve been in months.”

Calling these trend “conflicting,” Gray said they reflect “an economy with a good deal of directional uncertainty; uncertainty that needs resolution before its full potential can be realized.”

The AAR figures showed that in March nine of the 20 carload commodity categories that it tracks posted gains compared with March 2021.

These included chemicals, up 18,291 carloads or 11.7 percent; coal, up 16,637 carloads or 5.4 percent; and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 7,974 carloads or 8.5 percent.

Losing ground were grain, down 13,839 carloads or 10.8 percent; petroleum and petroleum products, down 9,033 carloads or 16.5 percent; and all other carloads, down 4,459 carloads or 14.6 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads fell by 3,181, or 0.4 percent. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up by 10,658, or 1.5 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first three months of 2022 was 2,987,140, a gain of 2.6 percent, or 76,120 carloads compared with the first three months of 2021.

Railroads handled 3,369,898 intermodal units, a decline of 6.9 percent or 249,672 containers and trailers.

Total combined traffic for the first 13 weeks of 2022 was 6,357,038 carloads and intermodal units, a 2.7 percent decline from 2021.

Rail Freight Traffic Continued to Show Gains

June 17, 2021

The Association of American Railroads reported Wednesday that U.S. rail freight for the week ending June 12 was 241,628 carloads, an increase of 21.8 percent compared with the same week in 2020.

The railroads hauled 288,007 containers and trailers, a 14.8 percent increase. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 529,635 carloads and intermodal units, up 17.9 percent vs. 2020.

AAR said all 10 commodity groups posted gains in traffic compared with last year.

They included coal, up 19,229 carloads, to 69,263; metallic ores and metals, up 8,242 carloads, to 22,789; and chemicals, up 5,489 carloads, to 32,967.

For the first 23 weeks of 2021, U.S. cumulative freight volume was 5,296,418 carloads, an 8.3 percent increase, and 6,494,976 intermodal units, an 18.5 percent rise over last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 23 weeks was 11,791,394 carloads and intermodal units, a 13.7 percent boost 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 Up 5.3% in January

February 4, 2021

U.S. railroad freight traffic in January was up 5.3 percent compared to the same month in 2020.

Combined carload and intermodal originations were 2,103,523, or 106,749 carloads and intermodal units higher than last year.

Railroads originated 1,173,220 containers and trailers, increasing 12.1 percent, or 126,548 units, compared with January 2020.

They originated 930,303 carloads for the month, falling 2.1 percent, or 19,799 carloads, from January 2020.

 “We are encouraged by rail volumes in January,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray in a statement.

“U.S. intermodal shipments and carloads of chemicals set new records; grain had its biggest-ever year-over-year increase; total carloads were the highest they’ve been in a year; and carloads excluding coal actually grew year-over-year for the second straight month.”

Gray said the economy still faces uncertainty but he is cautiously optimistic about the future.

Ten of 20 carload groups posted gains in January 2021.

Grain accounted for an additional 31,434 carloads, a 40 percent increase. Gray said it was the largest increase on a year-over-year comparison.

Excluding coal, carloads increased on a year-over-year basis for the second month.

They were up by 15,557, or 2.3 percent, in January 2021 compared with January 2020.

Carloads excluding coal and grain, however, were down by 15,877, or 2.7 percent.

Also posting increases during January were chemicals, up 5,717 carloads or 4.4 percent; and metallic ores, up 5,190 carloads or 28.7 percent.

Commodities that fell included coal, down 35,356 carloads or 12.7 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, down 14,097 carloads or 18.9 percent; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 6,529 carloads or 12.1 percent.

Another Mixed Week for U.S. Rail Freight Traffic

October 15, 2020

The latest weekly U.S. freight traffic report shows that the gap between 2019 and 2020 is narrowing.

The Association of American Railroads reported that for the week ending Oct. 10 carload traffic was down 5.2 percent, a slight decline from the 5.9 percent of the previous week.

Intermodal traffic rose 8.4 percent creating a 1.9 percent increase in total traffic.

Petroleum and petroleum products, coal, nonmetallic minerals, and motor vehicles and parts accounted for 10 percent of the carload decrease.

For the year to date, overall traffic is down 10.1 percent. Although growing of late, intermodal traffic is down 5.5 percent.

Every commodity group tracked by AAR posted declines compared with 2019 led by a 26.7 drop in coal traffic.

Falling Traffic to Highlight Reports

October 15, 2020

Ahead of third quarter financial reports being issued by the big six Class I railroads, Wall Street analysts are releasing their projections of what those reports will say.

The analysts project earnings will fall an average of 8 percent at the six publicly traded Class I systems.

Continued declines in traffic will highlight many reports with carload traffic for the industry having falling  9 percent on average during the third quarter.

However, intermodal traffic is on a growth spurt, rising 1 percent on average.

Coal traffic continues to be dismal with Class 1 railroads losing an average of a quarter of their coal volume.

CSX is expected to show the smallest overall quarterly traffic decline.

Overall traffic at CSX is expected to be down 3.8 percent, but its intermodal traffic has risen by a 6 percent.

Earnings at CSX are expected to be down 14.8 percent when it issues its report on Oct. 22.

Canadian National’s earnings are expected to plunge by 13 percent compared with the third quarter of 2019.

Norfolk Southern is expected to report on Oct. 28 a 4.8 percent fall in earnings.

Rail Traffic Down 1% in September

October 9, 2020

September U.S. rail traffic mirrored the situation that has been going on for weeks.

Intermodal traffic was up and help offset lagging carload traffic, the Association of American Railroads reported this week.

The net result was that freight traffic was down 1 percent in September compared with September 2019 levels.

U.S. railroads hauled 1,119,546 carloads last month, down 9.7 percent compared with September 2019 levels.

The railroads originated 1,423,883 containers and trailers during September, a 7.1 percent increase from the same period a year ago.

Combined, U.S. railroads handled 2,543,429 carloads and intermodal units during September.

“September 2020 was the fourth best intermodal month in history for U.S. railroads, as retailers and others restocked their inventories and prepared for the holiday season,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a news release.

“Meanwhile, rail carloads, which don’t include intermodal, remained down in September compared with last year, but showed marked improvement compared to a few months ago, especially if you exclude coal.”

Eight of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month posted gains. This included grain, up 27.8 percent; iron and steel scrap, up 12.2 percent; and grain mill products, up 4.7 percent.

Posting losses were coal, down 24.2 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, down 20.9 percent; and chemicals, down 5.6 percent. Excluding coal, carloads were down 2.9 percent. 

Total U.S. carloads hauled during the first nine months of 2020 fell 15.3 percent to 8,567,803 units, while intermodal volume fell 5.9 percent to 10,034,360 containers and trailers.

Freight Traffic Rebound Continues to Lag

July 23, 2020

U.S. freight traffic continued to struggle during the week ending July 18.

Statistics released this week by the Association of American Railroads showed rail traffic for the week was 481,597 carloads and intermodal units, a decline of 8.5 percent compared with the same week last year.

During the week carload traffic was 214,685, down 15.7 percent compared with the same week in 2019, while intermodal volume was 266,912 containers and trailers, down 1.7 percent.

Just one of the 10 carload commodity groups AAR tracks reported an increase and it was modest.

Miscellaneous carloads, rose 212 carloads, to 10,782. Posting declines were coal, down 22,464 carloads, to 56,202; metallic ores and metals, down 6,659 carloads, to 15,766; and nonmetallic minerals, down 6,108 carloads, to 30,986.

For the first 29 weeks of 2020, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 6,117,168 carloads, a decline of 16.1 percent compared to 2019.

Intermodal at 6,951,086 intermodal units is down 9.6 percent while the total combined U.S. traffic for the first 29 weeks of 2020 was 13,068,254 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 12.8 percent compared to last year.

Freight Recovery Stalled Last Week

July 16, 2020

The latest weekly rail freight statistics from the Association of American Railroads shows that the recovery the industry had been experiencing stalled last week.

AAR said U.S. rail traffic for the week ended July 11 was 449,092 carloads and intermodal units, a decline of 14.9 percent compared with the same week in 2019.

Declines in rail traffic for much of this year since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March have been routine but in recent weeks those declines had been shrinking.

Total carloads were 201,703, a fall of 22.7 percent and intermodal volume was 247,389 containers and trailers, down 7.4 percent.

None of the 10 carload commodity groups showed an increase in traffic when compared to last year.

Coal was down 29,221 carloads to 51,684; metallic ores and metals was down 9,890 carloads to 13,884; and nonmetallic minerals was down 6,365 carloads to 30,317.

For the first 28 weeks of this year, the cumulative volume of 5,902,483 carloads was off 16.1 percent from the same point last year.

The 6,684,174 intermodal units is a fall of 9.9 percent from last year. The combined freight traffic for the first 28 weeks was 12,586,657 carloads and intermodal units, a fall of 12.9 percent compared with 2019.

Rail Freight Traffic Decline Continues to Moderate

July 9, 2020

Rail freight traffic for the week ending July 4 continued to be below 2019 levels for the same week, but the overall losses were not as steep and intermodal traffic even posted a gain.

The Association of American Railroads said weekly rail traffic was 437,989 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.4 percent compared with the same week in 2019.

Intermodal volume was 245,222 containers and trailers, up 7.7 percent compared with 2019.

Total carloads were 192,767, down 12.7% compared with the same week in 2019.

Two of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with 2019.

These included farm products excluding grain and food, up 1,233 carloads, to 15,148; and motor vehicles and parts, up 1,065 carloads, to 12,152.

Seeing declines were coal, down 10,946 carloads, to 48,930; metallic ores and metals, down 6,872 carloads, to 13,731; and nonmetallic minerals, down 5,000 carloads, to 26,632.

For the first 27 weeks of 2020, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 5,700,780 carloads, down 15.8 percent from the same point last year; and 6,436,785 intermodal units, down 10 percent from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 27 weeks of 2020 was 12,137,565 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 12.8 percent compared with last year.