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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. freight-rail volumes rose in February


Less severe winter weather last month helped boost U.S. freight-rail volumes compared with February 2021 levels, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) announced yesterday.

U.S. railroads logged 1,945,646 carloads and intermodal units last month, a 5.7% increase compared with February 2021 volumes, according to AAR data. Carload volume climbed 11% to 915,329 units, while intermodal rose 1.4% to 1,030,317 containers and trailers.

"U.S. rail traffic had big year-over-year gains in February, largely because severe winter storms held volumes back last February," said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a press release. "That said, there were pockets of real strength last month. 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."

Last month, 15 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR posted carload gains compared with February 2021. These included coal, up 21.3%; chemicals, up 16.4%; and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 36.3%.

Commodities that logged declines included motor vehicles and parts, down 11.4%; petroleum and petroleum products, down 8%; and all other carloads, down 9.3%.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first two months of 2022 rose 3.6% to 1,817,594 units compared with the same period a year ago. However, intermodal volume fell 7.2% to 157,502 containers and trailers.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first eight weeks of 2022 amounted to 3,849,354 carloads and intermodal units, a YOY decrease of 2.4%.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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