Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Rail Freight Traffic’

Carload Up, Intermodal Down Last Week

September 23, 2021

U.S. Railroads posted a 3.5 percent gain in carload traffic for the week ending Sept. 18.

The Association of American Railroads said Class 1 railroads handled 234,790 carloads.

Intermodal traffic did not fare as well falling 8.3 percent at 270,832 containers and trailers.

The comparisons are to the same week in 2020 and marked the seventh consecutive week of intermodal losses. 

Total rail traffic was 505,622 carloads and intermodal units, a decline of 3.1 percent when compared with the same week last year.

Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR saw gains. They included coal, up 7,232 carloads, to 68,820; metallic ores and metals, up 5,203 carloads, to 24,798; and nonmetallic minerals, up 2,054 carloads, to 32,676.

Losing ground were were motor vehicles and parts, down 5,896 carloads, to 11,709; grain, down 2,609 carloads, to 19,432; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 388 carloads, to 10,494.

For the first 37 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads handled a cumulative volume of 8,528,660 carloads, an 8 percent increase, with 10,265,525 intermodal units, increasing 10.9 percent from last year.

Total combined traffic for the first 37 weeks of 2021 has been 18,794,185 carloads and intermodal units, up 9.6 percent compared with last year.

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 Traffic Continued Gains Last Week

March 18, 2021

U.S. carload and intermodal traffic continued to see gains last week in the weekly Association of American Railroads traffic tally.

For the week ending March 13, carload traffic was up  2.1 percent while intermodal volume posted a 22.4 percent gain during the week ending March 13.

In a related development, BNSF Vice President, Consumer Products Tom G. Williams told a congressional hearing on March 10 that December 2020 and January 2021 “were the two largest months in BNSF history for moving volume direct to rail off the ports in Southern California.”

Williams said his company has recalled furloughed employees and pulled railcars and locomotives out of storage to help handle the increased freight demand.

Last week AAR said total carloads were 230,684 while intermodal volume was 290,052 containers and trailers.

The percentage increases were in comparison to the same week in 2020.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase vs. the comparable week in 2020.

They included coal, up 8,744 carloads, to 64,102; grain, up 3,958 carloads, to 23,939; and farm products, excluding grain, and food, up 910 carloads, to 16,766.

Seeing declines were motor vehicles and parts, down 4,258 carloads, to 14,829; chemicals, down 3,034 carloads, to 29,971; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 1,900 carloads, to 11,379.

For the first 10 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,218,117 carloads, a loss of 4.9 percent compared with 2020; and 2,761,908 intermodal units, a gain of 9.9 percent.

Total combined traffic for this year’s first 10 weeks was 4,980,025 carloads and intermodal units, a 2.7 percent increase over last year.

U.S. Freight Traffic up 11.4% Last Week

March 11, 2021

U.S. rail traffic for the week ending March 6 up 11.4 percent to 515,135 carloads and intermodal units, the Association of American Railroads said.

The comparison is with the same week in 2020. The trade association indicated that rail traffic continues to rise as it recovers from the effects of a polar vortex last month that slowed traffic.

Both carload and intermodal volume rose for the week. Total carloads were 232,494, an increase of 1.1 percent while containers and trailers was 282,641, an increase of  21.5 percent.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by the AAR posted gains.

They included coal, up 6,939 carloads to 65,632; grain, up 5,657 carloads to 26,451; and farm products excluding grain and food up 371 carloads to 16,794.

Seeing declines were chemicals, down 3,833 carloads to 29,591; nonmetallic minerals, down 2,559 carloads to 27,833; and motor vehicles and parts, down 2,235 carloads to 15,912.

The cumulative volume for the first nine weeks of 2021 was 1,987,433 carloads, a decrease of 5.7 percent and 2,471,856 intermodal units, a gain of 8.6 percent.

Total combined U.S. traffic was 4,459,289 carloads and intermodal units, a gain of 1.7 percent.

Winter Hindered U.S. Rail Freight Traffic in February

March 4, 2021

A harsh period of winter weather that brought a polar vortex also put U.S. rail freight traffic into a deep freeze during February.

“During February, snow and ice covered wide swaths of the country, including many areas that rarely see harsh winter weather wreaking havoc on all forms of transportation, including rail,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray in a statement.

Gray said total U.S. rail carloads during the third week of February were the lowest for any week in AAR’s records that go back to 1988.

“While carloads rebounded during February’s final week to a more typical level, the month ended with noticeably lower total volumes,” Gray said. “On the positive side, both intermodal and grain traffic remained relatively strong through three of the four weeks of the month.”

For the month, U.S. railroads originated 824,636 carloads in February 2021, down 11.1 percent, or 102,972 carloads compared with February 2020.

They originated 1,015,995 containers and trailers, a gain of 1.8 percent, or 18,184 units.

Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations were 1,840,631, a drop of 4.4 percent or 84,788 carloads and intermodal units compared with February 2020.

Three of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month posted gains.

This included grain, up 12,342 carloads or 15.7 percent; pulp and paper products, up 578 carloads or 2.8 percent; and metallic ores, up 221 carloads or 1.4 percent.

Commodities that declined during February included: coal, down 31,837 carloads or 12.5 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, down 24,320 carloads or 33 percent; and motor vehicles & parts, down 14,336 carloads or 20.4 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads were fell 71,135 carloads, or 10.6 percent. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 83,477 carloads, or 14 percent.

Total carload traffic for the first two months of 2021 has been 1,754,939 carloads, down 6.5 percent, or 122,771 carloads, and 2,189,215 intermodal units, up 7.1 percent, or 144,732 containers and trailers.

Total combined traffic for the first eight weeks of 2021 is 3,944,154 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 0.6 percent compared with last year.

Rail Freight Traffic Up 9% Last Week

January 28, 2021

The Association of American Railroads reported that for the week ending Jan. 27 intermodal traffic rose nearly 19 percent compared with the same period in 2020. Carload traffic, though, fell.

For the week railroads saw an increase of 9 percent with 529,030 carloads and intermodal units handled.

While intermodal gained 17.8 percent for 298,051 units last week compared to the same week in 2020, carload traffic fell 0.7 percent to 230,979.

Of the 10 carload commodity groups, five posted an increase.

This included grain, up 5,481 carloads, to 27,295; chemicals, up 846 carloads, to 32,140; and forest products, up 603 carloads, to 10,192.

Posting declines were coal, down 4,949 carloads, to 63,474; nonmetallic minerals, down 2,672 carloads, to 25,233; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 1,139 carloads, to 12,522.

For the first three weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 698,933 carloads, declining 1.4 percent from the week last year; and 883,897 intermodal units, increasing 13.6  percent from 2020.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first three weeks of the year was 1,582,830 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 6.5 percent compared with last year.

Rail Traffic Up 5.8% Last Week

January 21, 2021

U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Jan. 16 showed an increase in volume of 5.8 percent over the same week in 2020.

The Association of American Railroads said carriers handled 528,547 carloads and intermodal units last week.

Much of the increase in traffic was caused by an increase in intermodal volume, which was 295,997 containers and trailers, a 12.8 percent increase.

The 232,550 carloads handled represented a 2 percent decrease.

Five carload groups showed increases, led by grain, up 42.6 percent at 27,613 carloads.

Other seeing gains in traffic were metallic ores and metals, up 1,715 carloads, to 23,325; and farm products, excluding grain, and food, up 1,621 carloads, to 16,818.

Declines were posted by coal, down 12,609 carloads, to 57,665; nonmetallic minerals, down 4,411 carloads, to 25,582; and miscellaneous carloads, down 402 carloads, to 9,755.

For the first two weeks of the year overall traffic was up 5.2 percent with intermodal up 11.6 percent, and carloads down 1.8 percent.

U.S. Rail Traffic Fell 7.2% in 2020

January 7, 2021

The tally for 2020 is now complete.

U.S. railroad hauled 25,157,476 carloads and intermodal units last year, a decline of 7.2 percent compared to 2019.

The Association of American Railroads said carload traffic for the year was 11,482,059 units, down 12.9 percent. The railroad s hauled 13,675,417 containers and trailers, a decline of 1.8 percent.

Most of the decline has been attributed to an economic downturn prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but not all of it.

AAR Senior Vice President John Gray said in a statement that before the pandemic deepened last March, railroads were on “less than ideal footing” due to a weakened manufacturing sector and lower port activity caused by trade disputes.

Despite enjoying near-record traffic declines during the early months of 2020, U.S. railroads rallied to close the year with volume close to pre-pandemic levels.

Gray said that was due to sharply higher grain and intermodal shipments, along with the reopening of auto assembly plants.

“It’s no surprise that rail volumes were down for the year overall, but railroads are looking to the future,” Gray said.

“Their experience in 2020 along with huge ongoing network investments have made the industry more adaptable and better able to adjust to the demands of a wide range of operational and market conditions. Railroads are well prepared to help our economy grow in 2021.”

AAR said that during December U.S. railroads hauled 2,435,819 carloads and intermodal units, a 4.4 percent increase compared with December 2019.

Total carloads fell 3.7 percent to 1,101,324 units during the month, while intermodal volume rose 12.2 percent to 1,334,495 containers and trailers.

Ten of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by AAR each month saw carload gains in December.

These included grain, up 27.9 percent; chemicals, up 3.7 percent; and iron and steel scrap, up 12.9 percent.

Posting declines were coal, down 14.5 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, down 14.8 percent; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 15.8 percent.

AAR Says Rail Traffic Made Up Lost Ground in November

December 3, 2020

U.S. rail freight traffic made up lost ground in November, the Association of American Railroads said this week.

John T. Gray, AAR senior vice president, said intermodal volumes were at near record highs for the second consecutive month.

“Excluding coal, total U.S. rail carloads are now very close to where they were before the pandemic hit, with grain volumes approaching record highs due to soybean exports,” Gray said.

He attributed the rise in intermodal volumes in the past two months to rising imports and Internet purchasing by consumers.

As has been the case for the past several weeks, intermodal growth offset carload declines.

During November U.S. railroads handled 2,036,889 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.1 percent compared with November 2019.

They originated 900,194 carloads, down 5.8 percent, or 55,198 carloads compared with November 2019.

Railroads originated 1,136,695 containers and trailers, up 11.5 percent, or 116,915 units.

Excluding coal, carloads were down 5,947 carloads, or 0.9 percent, in November 2020 compare with November 2019.

Gray said that was close to where that traffic was before the pandemic hit, with grain volumes approaching record highs due to soybean exports.

Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 25,973 carloads, or 4.5 percent.

In November 2020, nine of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR posted carload gains compared with November 2019.

These includes grain, up 20,026 carloads or 23.1 percent; chemicals, up 4,153 carloads or 3.4 percent; and grain mill products, up 1,821 carloads or 5.3 percent.

Commodities that declined included coal, down 49,251 carloads or 16.9 percent; petroleum and petroleum products, down 10,227 carloads or 19.9 percent; and crushed stone, sand and gravel, down 7,819 carloads or 10.3 percent.

Total carload traffic for the first 11 months of the year was 10,380,769, down 13.8 percent, or 1,663,263 carloads compared with 2019; and 12,340,929 intermodal units, down 3.1 percent, or 400,753 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 48 weeks of 2020 was 22,721,698 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 8.3 percent compared with last year.

Intermodal Continues to Show Growth

November 27, 2020

U.S. rail freight for the week ending Nov. 21 continued to follow its now established pattern.

Intermodal volume bolstered overall traffic while carload traffic remains down.

However, the Association of American Railroads said the year-to-date gap between 2019 and 2020 levels is closing.

Total traffic was 534,607 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 2.5 percent when compared with the same week in 2019.

Railroads handled 301,129 intermodal units an increase of 11.5 percent. The 233,478 total carloads is a 7.2 percent decrease.

Three commodity categories gained volume including grain, which rose 13.4 percent.

Four of the seven categories fell more than 12 percent.

The cumulative total of 22,268,906 carloads and intermodal units is an 8.5 percent decrease compared with 2019,

However, two weeks ago the gap with 2019 volumes was 9.1 percent. Carload traffic is running 14 percent below 2019 while intermodal units are down 3.4 percent.