A repeating, positive pattern for U.S. rail traffic

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
KCS
AAR reports rail traffic for week ending Dec. 19, 2020.
Kansas City Southern

Editor’s Note: Today’s Association of American Railroads traffic report is similar to the association’s reports for the past several weeks. While intermodal continues to post strong increases over the same periods last year, carload traffic remains slightly down. However, intermodal has been strong enough to offset the negative carload numbers to enable total U.S. weekly traffic to increase. Below are the details of this week’s report. DCL

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending December 19, 2020.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 520,305 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.5 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending December 19 were 230,838 carloads, down 5.8 percent compared with the same week in 2019, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 289,467 containers and trailers, up 10.3 percent compared to 2019.

Two of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2019. They were grain, up 4,274 carloads, to 25,860; and chemicals, up 879 carloads, to 33,276. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2019 included coal, down 9,907 carloads, to 62,110; nonmetallic minerals, down 4,300 carloads, to 25,840; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 2,416 carloads, to 11,701.

For the first 51 weeks of 2020, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,094,786 carloads, down 13.2 percent from the same point last year; and 13,235,629 intermodal units, down 2.3 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 51 weeks of 2020 was 24,330,415 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 7.6 percent compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending December 19, 2020, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 335,577 carloads, down 4.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 377,410 intermodal units, up 8.2 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 712,987 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.9 percent. North American rail volume for the first 51 weeks of 2020 was 33,479,259 carloads and intermodal units, down 7 percent compared with 2019.

Canadian railroads reported 84,546 carloads for the week, down 1.9 percent, and 73,122 intermodal units, up 7.7 percent compared with the same week in 2019. For the first 51 weeks of 2020, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 7,377,822 carloads, containers and trailers, down 4.3 percent.

Mexican railroads reported 20,193 carloads for the week, up 1.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 14,821 intermodal units, down 19.4 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 51 weeks of 2020 was 1,771,022 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 9.8 percent from the same point last year.

Categories: Class 1, Freight, Intermodal, News, Railroad News
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