U.S. Rail Traffic Struggles, Mexico Thrives

Written by Andrew Corselli, Managing Editor
image description

Freight has been hurting in the U.S., but south of the border is a different story. Photo courtesy SMS Rail Lines

It’s the same stuff, different year for U.S. rail traffic. Although our neighbors to the south are singing a different tune.

Indeed, 2020 is showing no signs of improvement in the states. Total carloads for the week ended Jan. 18, 2020, were 237,394 carloads, down 8.4% compared with the same week in 2019, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 262,338 containers and trailers, down 7.7% compared to 2019, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

For the week ended Jan. 18, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 499,732 carloads and intermodal units, down 8% compared with the same week last year.

Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2019. They were miscellaneous carloads, up 903 carloads, to 10,242; metallic ores and metals, up 827 carloads, to 21,616; and chemicals, up 649 carloads, to 32,478. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2019 included commodities such as coal, down 17,651 carloads, to 70,388; grain, down 3,631 carloads, to 19,373; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 978 carloads, to 12,730.

For the first three weeks of 2020, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 692,077 carloads, down 7.4% from the same point last year; and 723,293 intermodal units, down 8.1% from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first three weeks of 2020 was 1,415,370 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 7.8% compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ended Jan. 18, 2020, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 327,670 carloads, down 9.6% compared with the same week last year, and 342,771 intermodal units, down 8.1% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 670,441 carloads and intermodal units, down 8.8%. North American rail volume for the first three weeks of 2020 was 1,930,076 carloads and intermodal units, down 7.2% compared with 2019.

Canadian railroads reported 69,368 carloads for the week, down 18.3%, and 61,451 intermodal units, down 13.3% compared with the same week in 2019. For the first three weeks of 2020, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 412,161 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.2%.

Mexican railroads reported 20,908 carloads for the week, up 12.7% compared with the same week last year, and 18,982 intermodal units, up 7.7%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first three weeks of 2020 was 102,545 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 0.4% from the same point last year.

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