For the week ending Dec. 25, 2021, U.S. rail traffic was up 3.7% over the same week last year; total carloads came in 8.7% higher while intermodal volume continued its downward trend, falling 0.4%, the Association of American Railroads reported on Dec. 29.
In week 51, U.S. Class I railroads hauled a total of 420,373 carloads and intermodal units, comprising 201,222 carloads and 219,151 containers and trailers.
According to AAR, for the week ending Dec. 25, 2021, seven of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included coal, up 8,600 carloads, to 59,363; nonmetallic minerals, up 5,258 carloads, to 22,901; and chemicals, up 2,999 carloads, to 30,490. Commodity groups that posted declines vs. the same week in 2020 were grain, down 2,611 carloads, to 19,159; petroleum and petroleum products, down 1,591 carloads, to 8,705; and motor vehicles and parts, down 337 carloads, to 9,871.
For the first 51 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,804,438 carloads, climbing 6.7% from the prior-year period; and 13,952,907 intermodal units, rising 5.2% from 2020. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 51 weeks of this year was 25,757,345 carloads and intermodal units, a 5.9% boost over 2020.
North American rail volume for the week ending Dec. 25, 2021, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 288,957 carloads, increasing 6.6% compared with the same point last year, and 288,261 intermodal units, up 0% vs. last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America came in at 577,218 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.2%. North American rail volume for the first 51 weeks of 2021 was 35,057,623 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.7% vs. last year.
Canadian railroads reported 70,498 carloads for the week, dipping 0.1%, and 57,568 intermodal units, gaining 1.1% compared with the same week in 2020. For the first 51 weeks of 2021, they reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 7,451,415 carloads, containers and trailers, up 1%.
Mexican railroads reported 17,237 carloads for the week, a 12.7% boost over the same point last year, and 11,542 intermodal units, a 3.3% rise. Their cumulative volume for the first 51 weeks of 2021 was 1,848,863 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 4.4% from 2020.