Posts Tagged ‘John Gray’

Rail Traffic Mostly Down in September

October 6, 2022

September turned out to be a downer for rail freight traffic.

The Association of American Railroads said this week that for the month intermodal traffic fell by 4.8 percent while carload traffic was down 1.1 percent.

The percentages are in comparison to traffic in September 2021.

AAR figures showed U.S. Class I railroads originated 928,590 carloads in September 2022, decreasing by 10,639 carloads when compared with the same month last year.

The railroads last month handled 1,011,304 containers and trailers, a decline  of 51,039 units compared with September 2021.

Combined carload and intermodal originations in September 2022 were 1,939,894, down 3.1 percent, or 61,678 carloads and intermodal units when compare with the same month in 2021.

In a news release, AAR’s John T. Gray, senior vice president, said the September decline reflected a decline in consumer purchases.

He said that in late 2020 and throughout 2021 retailers overbought inventory and with slowing consumer demand they now have substantial inventories of unsold goods, which in turn is creating weak replacement demand.

With fewer consumers buying goods via the Internet, there has been less movement of trailers carrying packaged goods by rail.

The AAR said that during September six of the 20 carload commodity categories it tracks posted carload gains compared with September 2021.

These included crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 8,987 carloads or 11.2 percent; motor vehicles and parts, up 8,380 carloads or 18 percent; and coal, up 4,886 carloads or 1.8 percent. Commodities posting declines included primary metal products, down 6,341 carloads or 16.6 percent; all other carloads, down 4,879 carloads or 21 percent; and grain, down 4,227 carloads or 5 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads were down 15,525 carloads, or 2.3 percent, in September compared with the same month in 2022. Excluding coal and grain, carload traffic fell 1,298 carloads, or 1.9 percent.

Total carload traffic for the first nine months of 2022 has been 9,019,302 carloads, up 0.1 percent, or 9,791 carloads compared with the same time last year.

Intermodal traffic has been 10,259,554 units, down 5.1 percent, or 552,271 containers and trailers compared to this time last year.

Total combined traffic for the first 39 weeks of this year has been 19,278,856 carloads and intermodal units, a 2.7 percent fall compared with 2021.

Rail Freight Up 0.4% in August

September 8, 2022

U.S. Class I railroads handled 1,189,892 carloads in August 2022, a gain of 2.3 percent, or 27,040 carloads when compared with the same month in 2021.

Figures released by the Association of American Railroads showed that during August 2022 the railroads handled 1,335,618 containers and trailers, down 1.2 percent, or 15,856 units, from August 2021.

Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations last month were 2,525,510, up 0.4 percent, or 11,184 carloads and intermodal units from August 2021.

Eleven of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR saw carload gains compared with August 2021.

These included coal, up 17,468 carloads or 5.2 percent; grain, up 12,594 carloads or 14.1 percent; and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 7,327 carloads or 7.1 percent.

Losing ground were primary metal products, down 6,711 carloads or 14.1 percent; all other carloads, down 4,914 carloads or 15.9 percent; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 3,410 carloads or 6.6 percent.

In a statement, AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray said there is reason to believe the nation’s economy is on track to stimulate continued improvements in rail volumes.

“To be sure, some traffic categories are doing better than others, just like some sectors of the economy are doing better than others,” Gray said. “Through additional hiring and continued investments, railroads are preparing themselves for growth.”

Rail Freight Traffic in July Was Mixed Picture

August 4, 2022

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.

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.

February U.S. Rail Traffic up 5.7 Percent

March 3, 2022

February U.S. railroad freight traffic posted a 5.7 percent gain, the Association of American Railroads said this week.

The combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations for the month were 1,945,646 units, a gain of 104,819 carloads and intermodal units when compared with February 2021.

Carloads for the month were 915,329, a gain of 11 percent or 90,525 carloads over February 2020.

Intermodal traffic was 1,030,317 containers and trailers, which was a 1.4 percent or 14,294 increase.

AAR said 15 of the 20 carload commodity categories it tracks posted gains compared with February 2020.

These included: coal, up 47,238 carloads or 21.3 percent; chemicals, up 19,397 carloads or 16.4 percent; and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 17,918 carloads or 36.3 percent.

Losing ground were motor vehicles and parts, down 6,358 carloads or 11.4 percent; petroleum and petroleum products, down 3,191 carloads or 8 percent; and all other carloads, down 2,162 carloads or 9.3 percent.

“U.S. rail traffic had big year-over-year gains in February largely because severe winter storms held volumes back last February,” AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray said in a statement..

“That said, there were pockets of real strength last month,” Gray said.

“For example, carloads of chemicals set a new monthly record last month, carloads of coal were the highest in five months and carloads of lumber were the most in eight months.”

Excluding coal, carloads were up 43,287 carloads, or 7.2 percent, in February 2022 compared with February 2021.

Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 39,619 carloads, or 7.7 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first two months of 2022 were 1,817,594 carloads, an increase of 3.6 percent, or 62,664 carloads when compared with the same time period in 2020.

The 2,031,760 intermodal units was a drop of 7.2 percent, or 157,502 containers and trailers. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first eight weeks of 2022 was 3,849,354 carloads and intermodal units, falling 2.4 percent from the previous-year period.

U.S. January Rail Freight Traffic Was Mixed Bag

February 3, 2022

U.S. rail freight in January was a mixed bag, the Association of American Railroads reported on Wednesday.

Six of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by AAR posted traffic gains when compared with January 2021.

These included coal, up 13,596 carloads or 5.6 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 4,384 carloads or 7.2 percent; and chemicals, up 1,099 carloads or 0.8 percent.

Declines were seen by grain, down 15,396 carloads or 14 percent; motor vehicles and parts, down 11,559 carloads or 19.8 percent; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 9,509 carloads or 20.1 percent.

The combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in January 2022 were 1,903,708, down 9.5 percent, or 199,657 carloads and intermodal units.

AAR officials said this was based on 902,265 carloads—down 3 percent or 27,861 carloads from the same month in 2021—and 1,001,443 containers and trailers—down 14.6 percent, or 171,796 units.

Excluding coal, carloads fell by 41,457, or 6 percent last month. Excluding coal and grain, carloads dropped by 26,061, or 4.5 percent.

AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray said January freight traffic “made for very difficult comparisons for a number of categories.”

He said January 2021 was the best January for grain since 1990, and was also the highest volume month ever for intermodal.

Gray said January 2022, though, saw the highest volume monthly volumes for rail carloads of chemicals, thus providing a strong base for future growth.

U.S. Rail Freight Down 4.5% in November

December 3, 2021

U.S. rail freight for November was down 4.5 percent the Association of American Railroads said this week.

Railroads during the month handled 917,787 carloads, rising 2 percent or 17,996 carloads when compared with November 2020.

They also handled 1,028,039 containers and trailers, a decline of 9.6 percent or 108,705 units compared to last year.

Total carload and intermodal originations for the month were 1,945,826, a decline of 90,709 carloads and intermodal units over the same month last year.

John T. Gray, AAR’s senior vice president, said coal enjoyed robust growth due largely to the price of natural gas used to generate electricity having doubled this year.

Gray noted that coal carloads through November have been up 11 percent.

“Chemicals, grain and commodities related to steel making have also all showed solid carload growth this year,” he said in a statement.

AAR said 15 of the 20 freight categories that it tracks have posted gains through the end of November.

Between January and November, U.S. Class I railroads have handled 10,874,439 carloads, up 7 percent or 710,728 carloads compared with the same period in 2020.

Intermodal traffic on a year-to-date basis has been 12,917,662 intermodal units, up 6.4 percent or 775,257 containers and trailers.

The combined traffic has been 23,792,101 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 6.7 percent.

During November AAR said gains were posted by coal, up 20,731 carloads or 8.6 percent; chemicals, up 5,563 carloads or 4.4 percent; and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 5,067 carloads or 7.4 percent.

Losing ground were motor vehicles and parts, down 8,186 carloads or 14.1 percent; grain, down 7,901 carloads or 7.4 percent; and all other carloads, down 3,355 carloads or 14.6 percent.

All comparisons are with November 2020 figures.

Intermodal Traffic Fell 6.7% in September

October 7, 2021

Figures released by the Association of American Railroads on Wednesday confirmed what has been apparent for several weeks.

Intermodal traffic on U.S. Class 1 railroads is struggling, falling by 6.7 percent in September compared with the same month in 2020.

“Rail intermodal volume is clearly not what it has been and could be,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray.

“Keeping intermodal terminals functioning smoothly and at full capacity depends on consistent freight outflows to make room for new freight inflows,” Gray said.

“Unfortunately, due to limited availability of downstream truck and warehouse capacity, that’s not happening right now with predictable impacts on rail intermodal volume. There is no single solution to this problem, but railroads are bringing intermodal yard capacity back online to increase storage availability as well as working with customers and truckers to accelerate container pickup, among other efforts.

Otherwise, rail freight traffic at Class 1 railroads is trending upward with the carriers reporting having handled 1,167,682 carloads in September 2021, an increase of 4.3 percent (or 47,858 carloads) compared with September 2020.

Railroads hauled 1,328,527 containers and trailers, a decline of 95,317 units compared with last year.

Total carload and intermodal originations for September was 2,496,209, down 1.9 percent (or 47,459 carloads and intermodal units) compared with the same month last year.

AAR said 15 of the 20 carload commodity categories it tracks posted gains compared with September 2020.

These included: coal, up 40,954 carloads or 13.7 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 11,107 carloads or 12.5 percent; and primary metal products, up 8,675 carloads or 22.4 percent.

Losing ground last month were motor vehicles and parts, down 22,486 carloads or 27.6 percent; grain, down 17,312 carloads or 14.7 percent; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 1,616 carloads or 3.1 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads increased by 6,904, or 0.8 percent, in September 2021 compared with. September 2020.  Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 24,216, or 3.5 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first nine months of 2021 was 9,009,639, an increase of 7.9 percent, or 658,222 carloads;, and 10,812,108 intermodal units, a 9.9 percent rise, or 976,362 containers and trailers.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 39 weeks of the year was 19,821,747 carloads and intermodal units, up 9 percent from the same period in 2020.

U.S. Freight Traffic Up 14.5% in June

July 8, 2021

U.S. railroads in June originated 1,175,232 carloads and increase of 19.1 percent or 188,164 carloads compared with June 2021.

Intermodal traffic for the month was 1,386,745 containers and trailers, a rise of 10.9 percent or 136,634 units over the same month in 2020.

Combined originations for June were 2,561,977, up 14.5 percent, or 324,798 carloads and intermodal units over June 2020.

AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray said the June figures were part of a second quarter performance that “reflect an economy that is in much better shape than it was but still has room to grow.”

AAR said that second-quarter carloads were the highest since the fourth quarter of 2019. Excluding coal they were the highest since the third quarter of 2019.

Gray said intermodal and chemical volumes were “both the highest for any quarter in history.” The AAR report said steel-related commodities were “relatively strong in the second quarter, reflecting higher demand as the industrial economy continues to recover.”

Of the 20 carload categories AAR tracks each month, 19 posted gains last month.

They included: coal, up 84,109 carloads or 33.5 percent; chemicals, up 22,660 carloads or 16 percent; and metallic ores, up 20,228 carloads or 164.6 percent. Only farm products excluding grain posted a decline by falling 425 carloads or 10.6 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads were up 104,055 carloads, or 14.1 percent. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 100,564 carloads, or 15.9 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first six months of 2021 was 6,002,525 carloads, up 9.4 percent, or 517,580 carloads, and 7,332,067 intermodal units, up 17.5 percent, or 1,093,832 containers and trailers, from 2020.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 26 weeks the year was 13,334,592 carloads and intermodal units, a 13.7 percent boost from 2020.

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.