January rail traffic down 9.5% from 2021 levels (UPDATED)

Weekly rail traffic remains below 2021 levels

By Trains.com| March 10, 2022

Total intermodal, carload moves down 1.9% from comparable week a year earlier

Table showing weekly carload moves by commodity plus overall intermodal traffic

(Association of American Railroads)

WASHINGTON — U.S. rail traffic for the week ending March 5, 2022, remained slightly below 2021 levels, according to statistics from the Association of American Railroads.

Overall traffic for the week was 505,177 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.9% from the corresponding week a year earlier. That included 238,870 carloads, a 2.8% increase, and 266,307 containers and trailers, a 5.8% decrease.

Year-to-date figures for nine weeks in 2022 show overall traffic down 2.3%, with carloads up 3.5% and intermodal traffic down 7%. This week’s overall figure is ahead of the nine-week average of 483,837 carloads and intermodal units.

North American totals, for 12 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads, include 684,497 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.3%. The 335,676 carloads represent a 0.5% increase, while the 348,821 intermodal units are a 6.7% decrease.

Nine-week totals for North America are down 3.9% compared to the first nine weeks of 2021.


January rail traffic down 9.5% from 2021 levels

By | February 3, 2022 –First month of 2022 sees significant intermodal decrease

Weekly table showing rail traffic by commodity type, plus intermodal totals

(Association of American Railroads)

WASHINGTON — U.S. rail traffic was down 9.5% in January compared to January 2021, mostly because of a significant drop in intermodal traffic, according to Association of American Railroads statistics.

Intermodal traffic was down 14.6%, while carload traffic was down 3%, with 14 of 20 carload categories tracked by the AAR showing declines.

“For most traffic categories, U.S. rail volumes this January were down compared to last year,” AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray said in a press release. “That said, last January made for very difficult comparisons for a number of categories. For example, January 2021 was the best January for grain since 1990, and was also, at the time, the highest volume month ever for intermodal. Conversely, and more optimistically, this year’s January was the highest volume month ever for rail carloads of chemicals, providing a strong base for future growth in a critical commodity.”

Notable carload declines included grain, down by 15,396 carloads or 14%; motor vehicles and parts, still impacted by a chip shortage slowing production, down 11,559 carloads or 19.8%, and petroleum and petroleum products, down 9,509 carloads or 20.1%.

Weekly traffic stats remain down

Weekly traffic stats for the week ending Jan. 29 marked the fourth straight week with volume below 2021 levels. Overall traffic of 491,868 carloads and intermodal units represented a decline of 5.6% compared to the same week in 2021 — the smallest single-week decline so far this year.

The 235,203 carloads marked a 1.5% increase, while intermodal trailers and containers were down 11.3%.

North American totals for the week, for 12 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads, showed a total volume of 667,964 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 6.3% compared to the same week in 2021. That includes 330,400 carloads, down 1.5%, and 337,564 intermodal units, down 10.6%. Year-to-date North American volume is down 10.9% compared to the first four weeks of 2021.