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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Week 46: U.S. railroads log another traffic decline


U.S. freight-rail volumes continued to decline in the week ending Nov. 19, with railroads logging 491,794 carloads, containers and trailers, down 3.2% compared with the same week in 2021, according to Association of American Railroads data.

Carload volume dipped 0.6% to 235,887 units, while intermodal volume slumped 5.6% to 255,907 containers and trailers.

Four of the 10 carload commodity groups that AAR tracks every week posted increases compared with the same week in 2021. They included grain, up 2,039 carloads to 26,624; coal, up 1,766 carloads to 66,485; and nonmetallic minerals, up 463 carloads to 31,558.

Commodity groups that posted decreases included chemicals, down 3,081 carloads to 31,074; motor vehicles and parts, down 1,030 carloads to 13,631; and forest products, down 864 carloads to 9,033.

While U.S. railroads reported volume decreases, Canadian and Mexican railroads logged traffic increases in the week compared with year-ago results. Canadian railroads reported 82,709 carloads, up 12.8%, and 65,975 intermodal units, up 24.8%. Mexican railroads reported 23,025 carloads, up 11.7%, and 16,734 intermodal units, up 9.4%.

For the first 46 weeks of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021:

• U.S. railroads logged 22,777,602 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.5%;

• Canadian railroads posted 6,716,105 carloads, containers and trailers, down 1.4%; and

• Mexican railroads reported 1,736,967 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 3.7%.