AAR: Week 9 Traffic Thaw Following Frozen February

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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Total U.S. rail traffic for the week ending March 6 was 515,135 carloads and intermodal units, up 11.4% compared with the same week last year, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) on March 10.

Traffic volumes are continuing to rise following a “polar vortex hit” in February, as Railway Age noted March 3, following AAR’s report for the month and week ending Feb. 27.

Both U.S. carloads and intermodal volume saw gains for the week ending March 6. Total carloads (232,494) rose 1.1% and containers and trailers (282,641) were up 21.5% compared with the same week in 2020.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase vs. the same week in 2020. They included coal, up 6,939 carloads, to 65,632; grain, up 5,657 carloads, to 26,451; and farm products excluding grain, and food, up 371 carloads, to 16,794. Commodity groups that saw declines compared with the same week last year included chemicals, down 3,833 carloads, to 29,591; nonmetallic minerals, down 2,559 carloads, to 27,833; and motor vehicles and parts, down 2,235 carloads, to 15,912.

For the first nine weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,987,433 carloads, falling 5.7% from the same point last year; and 2,471,856 intermodal units, rising 8.6% from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic was 4,459,289 carloads and intermodal units, increasing 1.7% vs. last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending March 6, 2021, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 334,878 carloads, down 0.3% compared with the same week in 2020, and 375,170 intermodal units, up 19.3% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 710,048 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 9.2%. North American rail volume for the first nine weeks of this year was 6,135,336 carloads and intermodal units, rising 2% vs. the comparable 2020 period.

Canadian railroads reported 81,996 carloads for the week, down 2.8%, and 76,123 intermodal units, up 19.1% compared with the same week in 2020. For the first nine weeks of this year, they reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 1,343,654 carloads, containers and trailers, a 5.3% increase.

Mexican railroads reported 20,388 carloads for the week, decreasing 5.7% vs. the same week last year, and 16,406 intermodal units, declining 9.2%. Cumulative volume for the first nine weeks of 2021 was 332,393 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 5.7% from the same point in 2020.

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