North American Rail Freight Down 10.5% Through 37 Weeks: AAR

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
image description

The Association of American Railroads now has 37 mostly painful weeks of traffic data. The decline, driven by a sputtering global economy suffering from the impacts of COVID-19, the worst health crisis since the 1918 H1N1 pandemic, saw total traffic (carload and intermodal) fall 10.5% in North America—11.2% in the U.S., 8.1% in Canada (where the coronavirus appears to be under much better control than its neighbor to the south), and 9.6% in Mexico.

For the week ending Sept. 12, 2020, total U.S. rail traffic was 474,785 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.9% compared with the same week last year. Total carloads were 214,142, down 15.2% compared with the same week in 2019, while U.S. intermodal volume was 260,643 containers and trailers, down 5% compared to 2019. One of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2019. It was grain, up 3,098 carloads, to 21,550. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2019 included coal, down 20,518 carloads, to 60,278; nonmetallic minerals, down 9,007 carloads, to 26,760; and metallic ores and metals, down 4,648 carloads, to 18,157.

For the first 37 weeks of 2020, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 7,884,697 carloads, down 15.8% from the same point last year; and 9,158,459 intermodal units, down 6.9% from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 37 weeks of 2020 was 17,043,156 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 11.2% compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending Sept. 12, 2020, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 309,596 carloads, down 12.7% compared with the same week last year, and 348,700 intermodal units, down 5.9% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 658,296 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.2%. North American rail volume for the first 37 weeks of 2020 was 23,480,706 carloads and intermodal units, down 10.5% compared with 2019.

Canadian railroads reported 77,003 carloads for the week, down 5%, and 70,777 intermodal units, down 5.5% compared with the same week in 2019. For the first 37 weeks of 2020, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 5,159,513 carloads, containers and trailers, down 8.1%.

Mexican railroads reported 18,451 carloads for the week, down 11.6% compared with the same week last year, and 17,280 intermodal units, down 19.1%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 37 weeks of 2020 was 1,278,037 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 9.6% from the same point last year.

Categories: Class I, Freight, Freight Forecasting, Intermodal, News, Short Lines & Regionals, Switching & Terminal Tags: , ,