AAR Week 43: Once Again, It’s Intermodal

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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The trend continues: Intermodal gains once again offset carload declines, as U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Oct. 24, 2020—522,653 carloads and intermodal units—rose 1.9% compared with the same week last year, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported Oct. 28.

Total carloads for the week were 227,543, down 6.5% compared with the same week in 2019, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 295,110 containers and trailers, up 9.4% compared to 2019.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2019. They included grain, up 4,901 carloads, to 26,044; chemicals, up 831 carloads, to 30,947; and motor vehicles and parts, up 602 carloads, to 15,462. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2019 included coal, down 15,756 carloads, to 57,536; nonmetallic minerals, down 3,360 carloads, to 31,072; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 2,827 carloads, to 10,169.

For the first 43 weeks of 2020, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 9,253,138 carloads, down 14.7% from the same point last year; and 10,910,893 intermodal units, down 4.8% from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 43 weeks of 2020 was 20,164,031 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 9.6% compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending Oct. 24, 2020, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 328,057 carloads, down 5.1% compared with the same week last year, and 389,380 intermodal units, up 8% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 717,437 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.6%. North American rail volume for the first 43 weeks of 2020 was 27,749,722 carloads and intermodal units, down 9% compared with 2019.

Canadian railroads reported 80,384 carloads for the week, down 2.1%, and 79,792 intermodal units, up 12.4% compared with the same week in 2019. For the first 43 weeks of 2020, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 6,109,272 carloads, containers and trailers, down 6.4%.

Mexican railroads reported 20,130 carloads for the week, up 0.1% compared with the same week last year, and 14,478 intermodal units, down 26.5%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 43 weeks of 2020 was 1,476,419 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 10.8% from the same point last year.

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