U.S. rail traffic for the week ending Nov. 13, 2021 continued to suffer, as a near-10% drop in intermodal loadings canceled out a small carload gain, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported Nov. 17.
Week 45 U.S. freight rail traffic was 502,613 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.7% compared with the same 2020 week. Total carloads were 235,867, up 1.7%, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 266,746 containers and trailers, down 9.7% compared to 2020.
Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included coal, up 6,917 carloads, to 67,225; nonmetallic minerals, up 1,913 carloads, to 30,983; and chemicals, up 1,555 carloads, to 33,513. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2020 included grain, down 3,772 carloads, to 25,336; motor vehicles and parts, down 2,800 carloads, to 12,690; and miscellaneous carloads, down 729 carloads, to 9,414.
For the first 45 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,428,104 carloads, up 7.2% from the same point last year; and 12,424,895 intermodal units, up 7.2%. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 45 weeks of 2021 was 22,852,999 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 7.2% compared to last year—one that was hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
North American rail volume for the week ending November 13, 2021, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 334,933 carloads, up 0.8% compared with the same week last year, and 352,266 intermodal units, down 9.1% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 687,199 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.5%. North American rail volume for the first 45 weeks of 2021 was 31,165,841 carloads and intermodal units, up 6.2% compared with 2020.
Canadian railroads reported 77,772 carloads for the week, down 2.7%, and 70,295 intermodal units, down 9% compared with the same week in 2020. For the first 45 weeks of 2021, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 6,678,287 carloads, containers and trailers, up 3.5%.
Mexican railroads reported 21,294 carloads for the week, up 4.7% compared with the same week last year, and 15,225 intermodal units, up 1.7%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 45 weeks of 2021 was 1,634,555 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 3.9% from the same point last year.