U.S. rail traffic for the week ending July 23, 2022 (Week 29) was 498,901 carloads and intermodal units, down 0.8% from the same week last year. Total carloads were 232,565, up 1.1%, while U.S. intermodal volume of 266,336 containers and trailers dipped 2.5% compared with the prior-year period, the Association of American Railroads reported on July 27.
It is the 22nd consecutive week that total traffic has declined. (Total traffic gains were last seen in Week 7, which ended Feb. 17, 2022.)
Rail volumes for the week ending July 23, 2022, were also down compared with the same week in 2019, according to Susquehanna Financial Group (SFG) Analyst Bascome Majors. He also found that the four-week trend was down 5% from 2019 and down 2% from 2021. According to Majors’ analysis, intermodal for the week ending July 23, 2022, was down 2% from 2019, and the four-week trend for intermodal was down 1% from 2019. (See SFG chart, left.)
Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2021, according to AAR. They included motor vehicles and parts, up 1,790 carloads, to 12,559; coal, up 1,772 carloads, to 67,719; and farm products excluding grain, and food, up 950 carloads, to 15,627. Commodity groups that posted declines included metallic ores and metals, down 1,516 carloads, to 21,601; petroleum and petroleum products, down 490 carloads, to 10,038; and miscellaneous carloads, down 228 carloads, to 9,468.
For the first 29 weeks of 2022, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 6,663,741 carloads, down 0.2% from the same point last year; and 7,644,302 intermodal units, down 5.9% from 2021. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 29 weeks of 2022 was 14,308,043 carloads and intermodal units, a 3.3% fall-off from last year.
North American rail volume for the week ending July 23, 2022, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 328,063 carloads, down 0.4% vs. the same week last year, and 352,928 intermodal units, down 2.4% vs. 2021. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 680,991 carloads and intermodal units, decreasing 1.4%. North American rail volume for the first 29 weeks of 2022 was 19,533,345 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.3% compared with 2021.
Canadian railroads reported 73,607 carloads for the week, a 2.2% decrease, and 70,481 intermodal units, a 0.9% decrease, compared with the same week in 2021. For the first 29 weeks of 2022, they reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 4,151,626 carloads, containers and trailers, down 3.9%.
Mexican railroads reported 21,891 carloads for the week, dropping 8.5% compared with the same week in 2021, and 16,111 intermodal units, falling 7.1%. Their cumulative volume for the first 29 weeks of 2022 was 1,073,676 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 0.4% from the same point in 2021.