Week 1: Double-Digit Losses for U.S. Carloads, Intermodal

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Jan. 8, 2022, came in at 440,761 carloads and intermodal units, dropping 16% from the same week last year, based on 210,020 carloads—down 10.6% from 2021—and intermodal volume of 230,741 containers and trailers—down 20.4%, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported on Jan. 12.

The week ending Jan. 8, 2022, represents the first full week of the year; Jan. 1, 2022, was part of week 52 of 2021, according to AAR.

One of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase in the first week of 2022 compared with 2021. It was nonmetallic minerals, up 207 carloads, to 25,613. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the prior-year period included grain, down 5,652 carloads, to 21,952; coal, down 5,638 carloads, to 54,916; and metallic ores and metals, down 3,661 carloads, to 19,853.

For the week ending Jan. 8, 2022, North American rail volume on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 288,324 carloads, falling 13% from the same week last year, and 298,984 intermodal units, sinking 21.2%. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America for the first week of the year was 587,308 carloads and intermodal units, a 17.4% decline from 2021.

Canadian railroads reported 60,301 carloads for the week ending Jan. 8, 2022, decreasing 22.7%, and 56,857 intermodal units, tumbling 23% from the same week in 2021. For the first week of 2022, they reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 117,158 carloads, containers and trailers, down 22.8%.

Mexican railroads reported 18,003 carloads for the week ending Jan. 8, 2022, dipping 2.6% compared with the same point last year, and 11,386 intermodal units, plunging 26.9%. Their cumulative volume for the first week of the year was 29,389 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 13.7% vs. 2021.

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