Posts Tagged ‘U.S. freight traffic’

Some Freight Made Gains in April

May 5, 2022

U.S. rail freight traffic in April showed gains but also fell short of what it was in the same month a year ago.

The Association of American Railroads said combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in April were 2,002,854, a decline of 5.8 percent, or 122,798 carloads and intermodal units when compared with April 2021.

Carload traffic was 919,703 carloads, a fall of 3.4 percent or 31,929 carloads while intermodal traffic was 1,083,151 containers and trailers, a decline of 7.7 percent or 90,869 units.

Eight of the 20 carload commodity categories that AAR tracks saw carload gains compared with April 2021.

These included motor vehicles and parts, up 5,649 carloads or 12 percent; chemicals, up 4,463 carloads or 3.4 percent; and food products, up 1,632 carloads or 6.7 percent.

Losing ground were grain, down 15,817 carloads or 15.2 percent; metallic ores, down 9,070 carloads or 32.5 percent; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 7,670 carloads or 17.3 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads fell by 29,329 carloads, or 4.2 percent, in April 2022. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down by 13,512 carloads, or 2.3 percent.

“U.S. rail traffic in April had something for everyone,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray in a statement.  “Optimists can point to autos, chemicals and scrap, all of which had solid gains. Pessimists can point to grain, intermodal and petroleum products, which saw significant declines.”

Gray said in the middle were industrial products, an aggregation of seven key carload categories, which fell slightly in April.

During April intermodal traffic set records. Grain, food, lumber, paper, scrap metal and several other commodity categories exceeded the April 2019 pre-pandemic levels as well as April 2020’s pandemic levels, Gray said.

Total carload traffic for the first four months of 2022 has been 3,906,843 carloads, rising 1.1 percent, or 44,191 carloads, from the previous-year period; and 4,453,049 intermodal units, falling 7.1 percent, or 340,541 containers and trailers.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 17 weeks of 2022 was 8,359,892 carloads and intermodal units, a 3.4 percent decline from 2021.

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.

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.

Rail Freight Volume Down 2.3% Last Week

October 28, 2021

U.S. rail freight volume declined 2.3 percent for the week ending Oct. 20.

The Association of American Railroads said Class 1 carriers handled 239,195 carloads for a gain of 5.1 percent compared with the same week in 2020.

However as in past weeks, intermodal traffic drug down overall traffic volume. AAR said railroads handled 271,567 containers and trailers, down 8  percent. Combined, carloads and intermodal units was 510,762.

Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR saw gains.They included coal, up 8,175 carloads, to 65,712; metallic ores and metals, up 2,537 carloads, to 23,192; and miscellaneous carloads, up 1,537 carloads, to 11,036.

Losing ground were motor vehicles and parts, down 2,057 carloads, to 13,403; petroleum and petroleum products, down 623 carloads, to 9,544; and grain, down 138 carloads, to 25,857.

The year to date freight volume has been 9,718,385, an increase of 7.5. Intermodal traffic has been 11,617,749 units, an increase of 8.5.

Combined traffic has been 21,336,134 carloads and intermodal units, an 8  percent increase. All comparisons are with the 2020.  

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.

Intermodal Holds Back U.S. Freight Traffic

September 30, 2021

Intermodal continued to hold back overall U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Sept. 25.

The Association of American Railroads said traffic last week was 511,713 carloads and intermodal units, a 1.3 percent decline compared with the same period in 2020.

U.S. Class I railroads hauled 239,069 carloads, increasing 6.6 percent while also hauling 272,644 containers and trailers, a decline of 7.3 percent from last year.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted gains. They included coal, up 11,681 carloads, to 70,002; metallic ores and metals, up 4,418 carloads, to 24,120; and nonmetallic minerals, up 4,103 carloads, to 34,083.

Losing ground were motor vehicles and parts, down 4,774 carloads, to 11,563; grain, down 3,128 carloads, to 21,864; and farm products excluding grain, and food, down 169 carloads, to 15,503.

For the first 38 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads handled 8,767,729 carloads, an 8 percent increase, and 10,538,169 intermodal units, a 10.4 percent gain over 2020.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 38 weeks was 19,305,898 carloads and intermodal units, rising 9.3 percent from last year.

U.S. Freight Traffic Down 3% Last Week

September 10, 2021

U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Sept. 4 was down 3 percent compared to the same week in 2020.

The Association of American Railroads said Class 1 railroads handled 494,415 carloads and intermodal units.

The broke down to 228,203 carloads, up 2.6 percent compared with 2020 and 266,212 containers and trailers, down 7.3 percent.

It was the fifth consecutive week that intermodal traffic lagged behind corresponding levels for the same weeks in 2020.

Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked saw increases compared with 2020.

They included coal, up 5,824 carloads, to 66,950; metallic ores and metals, up 5,151 carloads, to 22,768; and nonmetallic minerals, up 2,680 carloads, to 32,281.

Posting losses were grain, down 6,211 carloads, to 16,711; motor vehicles and parts, down 3,866 carloads, to 12,421; and farm products excluding grain, and food, down 5 carloads, to 15,342.

For the first 35 weeks of 2021, total traffic (carload and intermodal) was up 10.3 percent compared to the same time last year.

Carload Traffic Up, But Intermodal Down

August 19, 2021

U.S. rail freight traffic for the week ending Aug. 14 saw gains in carload volume but declines in intermodal volume.

Class 1 railroads during that week handled 504,810 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 0.9 percent compared with the same week in 2020.

Carload traffic was 235,011, a gain of 5.7 percent while intermodal traffic was 269,799 containers and trailers, a decline of 3 percent.

The Association of American Railroads said five of the 10 carload commodity groups it tracks posted an increase compared with the same point in 2020.

They included coal, up 8,196 carloads, to 67,054; metallic ores and metals, up 5,676 carloads, to 24,678; and nonmetallic minerals, up 2,080 carloads, to 32,602.

Losing ground were grain, down 2,906 carloads, to 19,488; motor vehicles and parts, down 1,883 carloads, to 13,512; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 526 carloads, to 10,314.

For the first 32 weeks of 2021, railroads reported cumulative volume of 7,376,542 carloads, increasing 8.9 percent compared with the same week in 2020; and 8,943,306 intermodal units, an increase of 14 percent.

Total combined traffic for the period was 16,319,848 carloads and intermodal units, an 11.6 percent gain over 2020.

Rail Freight Increases Slowed in July

August 5, 2021

U.S. rail freight traffic was up in July, but the percentage increase was significantly lower than that recorded in other recent months the Association of American Railroads reported on Wednesday.

AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray said this was due to “more difficult comparisons and because various external factors have led to a recent deceleration in rail volumes.”

For example, grain exports were down so grain shipments also fell. Automakers continue to be hindered by semiconductor shortages and are thus producing fewer vehicles.

Gray said slowdowns in the worldwide supply chain has adversely affected rail shippers.

“While all of these should be manageable, temporary setbacks, their convergence has resulted in weaker rail volumes than basic domestic economic factors might otherwise imply,” Gray said.

In July, U.S. Class I railroads originated 904,670 carloads, an increase of 6.6 percent, or 55,969 carloads compared with July 2020.

The carriers originated 1,066,169 containers and trailers, a gain of 1.5 percent or 15,450 units. The combined July originations was 1,970,839, up 3.8 percent, or 71,419 carloads and intermodal units compared with July 2020.

Of the 20 carload commodity categories AAR tracks each month, 10 saw gains in July 2021.

These included: coal, up 31,619 carloads or 14.1 percent; metallic ores, up 14,151 carloads or 137.8 percent; and primary metal products, up 9,802 carloads or 36.4 percent.

Posting declines were motor vehicles and parts, down 12,309 carloads or 21.3 percent; grain, down 6,112 carloads or 7.3 percent; and grain mill products, down 1,862 carloads or 5 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads were up 24,350 carloads, or 3.9 percent, in July 2021 vs. the same month last year.

Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 30,462 carloads, or 5.6 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first seven months of 2021 was 6,907,195 carloads, increasing 9.1 percent, or 573,549 carloads, from the same point last year; and 8,398,236 intermodal units, gaining 15.2 percent, or 1,109,282 containers and trailers, from 2020.

Total combined traffic for the first 30 weeks of the year was 15,305,431 carloads and intermodal units, a 12.4 percent increase.