AAR: Carloads, Intermodal Post Double-Digit Gains, Again

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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Both U.S. carloads and intermodal volume for the week ending May 15, 2021, rose sharply over the same point in 2020—31.6% and 25.6%, respectively, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported May 19.

With 242,806 carloads and 291,066 intermodal containers and trailers, total U.S. weekly rail traffic came in at 533,872, up 28.3% vs. the same week last year.

Total U.S. rail traffic for the previous week (ending May 8) was 523,309, including 236,019 carloads (rising 27.6% over the prior-year period) and 287,290 intermodal units (climbing 26.3% from the same point in 2020).

For the week ending May 1, 2021, total U.S. rail traffic was 540,667, with 240,858 carloads (up 27.2% vs. 2020) and 299,809 containers and trailers (up 31.6% compared with last year).

For the week ending April 24, 2021, total U.S. rail traffic came in at 538,184, with 240,075 carloads (a 25% increase from 2020) and 298,109 intermodal units (a 34.3% boost from the same point last year).

All 10 carload commodity groups for week ending May 15, 2021 posted an increase vs. the prior-year period. They included coal, up 22,374 carloads, to 68,327; motor vehicles and parts, up 9,598 carloads, to 12,466; and metallic ores and metals, up 9,592 carloads, to 23,686.

For the first 19 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 4,341,762 carloads, up 5.2% from the same point last year; and 5,371,854 intermodal units, up 18.5% from 2020. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 19 weeks of the year was 9,713,616 carloads and intermodal units, rising 12.1% over last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending May 15, 2021, on the 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 341,527 carloads, up 29%, and 384,770 intermodal units, up 22.7%, vs. the comparable 2020 period. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 726,297 carloads and intermodal units, rising 25.6%. North American rail volume for the first 19 weeks of 2021 was 13,290,858 carloads and intermodal units, a 10.9% increase compared with 2020.

Canadian railroads reported 78,290 carloads for the week, up 21.6%, and 77,499 intermodal units, up 15.9%, compared with the same week in 2020. For the first 19 weeks of 2021, they reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,883,730 carloads, containers and trailers, an 8% rise.

Mexican railroads reported 20,431 carloads for the week ending May 15, 2021, a gain of 28.4% over the prior-year period, and 16,205 intermodal units, a 7.9% boost. Their cumulative volume for the first 19 weeks of 2021 was 693,512 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.8% from the same point last year.

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