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In October, U.S. railroads originated 952,074 carloads, up 0.5% year over year, according to Association of American Railroads data. But their intermodal traffic declined 1.4% to 1,062,422 units.
Combined U.S. carload and intermodal loads in October 2022 totaled 2,014,496 units, down 0.5%. Excluding coal, carloads dipped 1.4%, and excluding coal and grain, carloads decreased 1.5%.
Seven of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR registered gains in October, including coal (at 5.8%), crushed stone, sand and gravel (at 10.7%) and motor vehicles and parts (at 11.4%). Commodities that registered declines included primary metal products at 13.2% and chemicals at 4.8%.
“October is usually one of the highest-volume months of the year for rail carloads, and it’s the top month so far this year,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a press release. “Carloads of grain surged upward as U.S. producers sought alternatives to the Mississippi River constraints while motor vehicles had one of their better months since pre-pandemic times."
However, U.S. intermodal traffic remained subdued last month primarily because of high inventories at many retailers, lower port volumes and still-scarce warehouse capacity for many rail intermodal customers, he said.
For the week ending Oct. 29, U.S. railroads logged 514,457 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.8% year over year. Carloads rose 2.6% to 244,425 units, but intermodal volume dipped 0.7% to 270,032 units.