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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR: Intermodal nosedive continued in Week 20


U.S. rail volume in the week ending May 20 totaled 470,694 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.2% compared to the same week in 2022, according to Association of American Railroads data.

Total carloads declined 0.4% to 225,093, while intermodal volume plunged 9.3% to 245,601 containers and trailers during the week.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks weekly posted increases. They included motor vehicles and parts, up 14.2%; metallic ores and metals, 9%; and nonmetallic minerals, 3.4%.

Groups posting decreases included grain, down 12.7%; coal, -3.9%; and chemicals, -2.5%.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads logged 87,662 carloads for the week, a 1.3% increase, and 74,548 intermodal units, a 10.3% decrease. Mexican railroads logged 17,480 carloads, a 4.3% increase, and 11,243 intermodal units, a 3.1% decrease.

For the first 20 weeks of 2023 compared with the same period in 2022:

  • U.S. railroads reported 9,143,928 carloads and intermodal units, down 5.6%;
  • Canadian railroads reported 3,199,107 carloads, containers and trailers, down 0.4%; and
  • Mexican railroads reported 551,146 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 1.4%.