For the week ending Jan. 9, 2021, total U.S. rail traffic was 525,253 carloads and intermodal units—up 4.7% from the comparable week of 2020, ending Jan. 11—based on a double-digit intermodal gain, according to an Association of American Railroads (AAR) Jan. 13 report. Total carloads of 235,404 fell 1.6% vs. the comparable week in 2020, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume of 289,849 containers and trailers rose 10.4% vs. 2020.
Four of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included grain, up 9,386 carloads, to 27,650; metallic ores and metals, up 2,524 carloads, to 23,600; and chemicals, up 2,458 carloads, to 36,195. Commodity groups that experienced decreases compared with the same week in 2020 included coal, down 10,088 carloads, to 60,780; nonmetallic minerals, down 4,640 carloads, to 25,395; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 3,144 carloads, to 11,167.
North American rail volume for the week on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 330,520 carloads, falling 2.5% compared with the comparable week last year, and 378,856 intermodal units, rising 8.3% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 709,376 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.0%.
Canadian railroads reported 77,465 carloads for the week, dropping 3.3%, and 73,933 intermodal units, growing 6.6% compared with the comparable week in 2020. They reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 151,398 carloads plus containers and trailers, up 1.3%, for the first week of 2021.
Mexican railroads reported 17,651 carloads for the week, a fall-off of 10.7% compared with the comparable week last year, and 15,074 intermodal units, a decrease of 15.6%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first week of 2021, was 32,725 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 13.0% from the same point last year.