Through the first 10 weeks of 2023 (ending March 11), total North American carload and intermodal traffic dipped 2.9% from same point last year, according to the Association of American Railroads’ (AAR) March 15 report. Both Canada and Mexico saw increases, while the U.S. experienced a decline.
North American rail volume for the first 10 weeks of this year (ending March 11) on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads came in at 6,384,871 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers. Cumulative volume in Canada was 1,389,650 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.1% from 2022; in Mexico, 369,054 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.3%; and in the U.S., 4,626,167 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.8%.
According to the AAR, for the week ending March 11, 2023, U.S. Class I railroads hauled a total of 458,629 carloads and intermodal units, falling 7.6% from the same week in 2022. This comprises 229,246 carloads—down 1.5% from the prior-year period—and 229,383 containers and trailers—down 13.0% compared with 2022.
Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2022. They were motor vehicles and parts, up 1,333 carloads, to 15,271; nonmetallic minerals, up 1,259 carloads, to 31,720; and farm products excluding grain, and food, up 164 carloads, to 17,238. Commodity groups that posted decreases included chemicals, down 2,915 carloads, to 33,013; grain, down 1,080 carloads, to 20,174; and metallic ores and metals, down 1,078 carloads, to 18,962.
For the first 10 weeks of 2023, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,296,099 carloads, down 0.1% from the same point last year; and 2,330,068 intermodal units, down 9.0%.
North American rail volume for the week ending March 11, 2023, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 330,767 carloads, rising 1.0% from the same week last year, and 303,627 intermodal units, dropping 12.7% from last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America came in at 634,394 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.1%.
For the week ending March 11, 2023, Canadian railroads reported 79,559 carloads, a 6.7% gain, and 59,978 intermodal units, a 12.7% loss compared with the same week in 2022.
Mexican railroads reported 21,962 carloads for the week ending March 11, 2023, increasing 7.9% from the same week last year, and 14,266 intermodal units, falling 6.5%.