Intermodal continues to be bedrock of weekly traffic increases

Written by David C. Lester, Editor In Chief
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Intermodal continues to be bedrock of weekly traffic increases.
Norfolk Southern

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending January 16, 2021.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 528,547 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.8 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending January 16 were 232,550 carloads, down 2 percent compared with the same week in 2020, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 295,997 containers and trailers, up 12.8 percent compared to 2020.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included grain, up 8,246 carloads, to 27,613; metallic ores and metals, up 1,715 carloads, to 23,325; and farm products excluding grain, and food, up 1,621 carloads, to 16,818. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2020 included coal, down 12,609 carloads, to 57,665; nonmetallic minerals, down 4,411 carloads, to 25,582; and miscellaneous carloads, down 402 carloads, to 9,755.

For the first two weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 467,954 carloads, down 1.8 percent from the same point last year; and 585,846 intermodal units, up 11.6 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first two weeks of 2021 was 1,053,800 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 5.2 percent compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending January 16, 2021, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 340,432 carloads, up 4.2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 386,001 intermodal units, up 12.9 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 726,433 carloads and intermodal units, up 8.6 percent. North American rail volume for the first two weeks of 2021 was 1,435,809 carloads and intermodal units, up 5.8 percent compared with 2020.

Canadian railroads reported 86,133 carloads for the week, up 23.9 percent, and 74,486 intermodal units, up 21.3 percent compared with the same week in 2020. For the first two weeks of 2021, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 312,017 carloads, containers and trailers, up 11.3 percent.

Mexican railroads reported 21,749 carloads for the week, up 8.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 15,518 intermodal units, down 14.4 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first two weeks of 2021 was 69,992 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 7.7 percent from the same point last year.

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