Posts Tagged ‘U.S. railroad freight traffic’

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.

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.

Rail Freight Traffic Up 5.7% in 2021

January 6, 2022

Intermodal traffic faced many challenges during 2021 but still finished the year posting the second-best volume since the Association of American Railroad began tracking freight traffic.

AAR said intermodal volume last year trailed only 2018.

However, it was a tale of two halves with intermodal traffic setting records in the first half of 2021 only to lose ground in the second half due to global supply chain issues that saw shipping containers languishing in railroad yards, on siding, and aboard ships docked off shore of ports.

In December, intermodal traffic was 8.2 percent below the same month in 2020 with Class 1 railroads handling 1,224,780 containers and trailers, a decline of 109,729 units

AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray noted that chemical traffic set a record in 2021 and grain traffic had its best year since 2008.

Coal traffic, which in recent years has been in a steady decline, was up significantly last year as sharp increases in natural gas prices temporarily at least sent power generating facilities seeking another source of fuel.

A shortage of microchips, a victim of the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain congestion, worked to depress auto traffic in 2021.

For the year carload traffic in 2021 was 12,010,274 carloads, a gain of 6.6 percent, or 744,646 carloads when compared to 2020.

Intermodal traffic for 2021 was 14,142,442 units, an increase of 4.9 percent, or 665,528 containers and trailers over 2020.

Total combined U.S. traffic for 2021 was 26,152,716 carloads and intermodal units, a 5.7 percent increase over 2020.

During December, Class I railroad handled 1,224,780 containers and trailers, a drop of down 109,729 units or 8.2 percent when compared with the same month in 2020.

Carload traffic for the month was 1,135,835 carloads, an increase of 33,918 carloads or 3.1 percent.

The combined, carload and intermodal originations were 2,360,615, a decline of 75,811 carloads and intermodal units. The 3.1 percent decline over December 2020 was driven by intermodal traffic.

AAR said that during December 2021, 14 of its 20 carload commodity categories posted gains when compared with December 2020.

Gaining were coal, up 21,871 carloads (7.4 percent); crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 17,926 carloads (25.3 percent); and chemicals, up 9,675 carloads (6 percent).

Losing ground were grain, down 12,701 carloads (9.9 percent); motor vehicles and parts, down 8,637 carloads (12.6 percent); and petroleum and petroleum products, down 5,560 carloads (10 percent).

Rail Freight Down 3.5% Last Week

November 11, 2021

U.S. rail freight for the week ending Nov. 6 was down 3.5 percent compared to the same week in 2020.

The same pattern of increased carload traffic being offset by declines in intermodal traffic continued.

Class 1 railroads handled 504,111 carloads and intermodal units. That broke down to 235,585 carloads, a gain of 3.1 percent, and 268,526 containers and trailers, a loss of 8.6 percent.

Gains were registered by coal, up 7,624 carloads, to 66,745; metallic ores and metals, up 3,486 carloads, to 21,039; and chemicals, up 1,178 carloads, to 33,780.

Commodity groups that lost ground included motor vehicles and parts, down 3,204 carloads, to 11,946; grain, down 2,039 carloads, to 25,386; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 413 carloads, to 10,010.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 44 weeks of this year has been 22,350,386 carloads and intermodal units, a gain of 7.5 percent.

Freight Traffic Down 1.3% Last Week

September 16, 2021

U.S. freight traffic fell 1.3 percent for the week ending Sept. 11.

The Association of American Railroads said traffic was 468,610 carloads and intermodal units. AAR officials said declines in intermodal volume offset carload gains.

U.S. Class I railroads moved 223,710 carloads, a gain of 4.5 percent compared with the same week in 2020.

Railroads handled 244,900 containers and trailers, a loss of 6 percent and the sixth consecutive week of intermodal losses.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR saw gains compared with the same week in 2020.

They included coal, up 9,749 carloads, to 69,927; metallic ores and metals, up 4,227 carloads, to 22,395; and nonmetallic minerals, up 3,731 carloads, to 30,476.

Posting declined were motor vehicles and parts, down 4,862 carloads, to 10,121; grain, down 4,830 carloads, to 16,718; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 558 carloads, to 9,797.

For the first 36 weeks of 2021, railroads handled a cumulative volume of 8,293,870 carloads, a 8.2 percent gain compared with 2020; and 9,994,693 intermodal units, an 11.5 percent gain.

Total combined traffic for the first 36 weeks of 2021 was 18,288,563 carloads and intermodal units, a 10 percent increase from last year.

U.S. Rail Freight Down 2.6% Last Week

August 26, 2021

U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Aug. 21 fell 2.6 percent when compared to the same week in 2020, the Association of American Railroads reported.

The carriers handled 501,273 carloads and intermodal units, AAR said.

That also is a decline compared to the same week in 2019 Susquehanna Financial Group Analyst Bascome Majors said.

Majors said the four-week trend was up 1 percent vs. 2020 and down 6 percent from 2019.

AAR said Class 1 railroads last week handled 230,754 carloads, an increase of 0.4 percent and 270,519 containers and trailers, a fall of 5.1 percent compared with 2020.

It was the third consecutive week that intermodal posted declines compared with 2020.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR saw increases compared with the same week in 2020.

They included metallic ores and metals, up 4,551 carloads, to 23,522; nonmetallic minerals, up 2,802 carloads, to 33,109; and miscellaneous carloads, up 1,042 carloads, to 10,653.

Losing ground were grain, down 4,483 carloads, to 18,098; motor vehicles and parts, down 2,513 carloads, to 13,974; and farm products excluding grain, and food, down 1,042 carloads, to 14,906.

For the first 33 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads handled cumulative volume of 7,607,296 carloads, a gain of 8.6 percent from the same point last year; and 9,213,825 intermodal units, an increase of 13.3 percent over 2020.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 33 weeks of 2021 was 16,821,121 carloads and intermodal units, rising 11.1 percent from last year.

U.S. Rail Traffic Still Lags Behind 2019 Levels

July 22, 2021

U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending July 17, 2021, was 513,255 carloads and intermodal units, a 6.6 increase over the same week in 2020, the Association of American Railroads said.

However,  rail volumes for week 28 of 2021 were down 3 percent compared with the same week in 2019.

The Susquehanna Financial Group said the four-week trend was up 9 percent from 2020, but down 2 percent compared with 2019. The report concluded that recovery from the downturn of 2020 isn’t complete yet.

AAR said total U.S. Class I carloads came in at 235,303 for the week ending July 17, up 9.7 percent from the same point in 2020; intermodal volume was 277,952 containers and trailers, up 4.1 percent.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups saw gains compared with the same week last year.

These included coal, up 13,057 carloads, to 69,186; metallic ores and metals, up 7,207 carloads, to 22,975; and chemicals, up 2,785 carloads, to 32,784.

Losing ground were motor vehicles and parts, down 1,750 carloads, to 12,049; grain, down 1,384 carloads, to 20,964; and farm products excluding grain, and food, down 175 carloads, to 15,593.

For the first 28 weeks of this year, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 6,448,125 carloads, an increase of 9.3 percent from the same week in 2020; and 7,851,547 intermodal units, increasing 16.3 percent from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 28 weeks of 2021 was 14,299,672 carloads and intermodal units, a 13 percent boost from 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 Traffic Down Over Recent Weeks

June 10, 2021

U.S. rail freight traffic last week was down 7 percent from the previous four weeks of this year.

The Association of American Railroads said that for the week ending June 5, 2021, railroads handled 489,144 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 12.9 percent from the same point in 2020.

Total carloads for the week were 227,497, rising 18.1 percent over the same week in 2020. Intermodal volume was 261,647 containers and trailers, an 8.7 percent increase.

AAR continued to note that percentage changes for some rail traffic categories are “inflated.” This is due to the widespread pandemic-related “shutdowns—and subsequent large reduction in rail volumes—that impacted many economic sectors last year at this time.”

Nine of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020.

They included coal, up 16,326 carloads, to 65,101; metallic ores and metals, up 9,915 carloads, to 23,332; and chemicals, up 4,711 carloads, to 32,602.

Losing ground was nonmetallic minerals, which fell 892 carloads, to 29,220.

For the first 22 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 5,054,790 carloads, an increase of 7.8 percent compared with the same period in 2020.

They handled 6,206,969 intermodal units, a gain of 18.7 percent over 2020.

Total combined traffic for the first 22 weeks of this year was 11,261,759 carloads and intermodal units, a 13.5 percent increase over 2020.

Intermodal Traffic Continues Record Gains

June 3, 2021

Intermodal traffic last month was robust enough to set a record, the Association of American Railroads said on Wednesday.

In releasing U.S. rail freight traffic statistics for May, AAR said intermodal had the “best January to May period ever.”

AAR said total carloads for the month “were the most for any month since October 2019 on a weekly average basis,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray.

U.S. railroads originated 964,356 carloads in May 2021, a 30.4 percent gain, or 224,623 carloads when compared with May 2020.

They originated 1,151,824 containers and trailers, an increase of 26.2 percent, or 238,927 units. During May carload and intermodal traffic combined totaled 2,116,180, up 28 percent, or 463,550 carloads.

Gray described U.S. rail volumes for May as “encouraging.” Of the 20 carload categories AAR tracks each month, 12 had gains over May 2019 and 18 had gains over May 2020.

These included coal, up 77,228 carloads or 41.7 percent; motor vehicles and parts, up 34,021 carloads or 206.5 percent; and chemicals, up 23,368 carloads or 20.8 percent.

Commodities that lost ground in May 2021 included: farm products excluding grain, down 166 carloads or 4.9 percent; and primary forest products, down 67 carloads or 1.7 percent.

Excluding coal, carloads were up by 147,395, or 26.6 percent. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up by 131,319, or 28 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first five months of 2021 was 4,827,293 carloads, up 7.3 percent, or 329,416 carloads, from the same point last year; and 5,945,322 intermodal units, up 19.2 percent, or 957,198 containers and trailers.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 21 weeks of the year was 10,772,615 carloads and intermodal units, a 13.6 percent boost compared with 2020.

“Railroads hope to build on these gains in the months ahead as they help the economy return to strong, sustainable growth,” Gray said.