AAR statistics show U.S. volume increases for week, October as a whole

Intermodal continues to drive rebound from earlier pandemic-related lows
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AAR traffic statistics chart
Association of American Railroads

WASHINGTON — Overall U.S. intermodal and carload rail traffic continued creeping upward in the week ending Oct. 31, while statistics for October as a whole showed a similar increase.

Statistics released by the Association of American Railroads show a total of 520,778 carloads and intermodal units moved in the week, a 2.1% increase over the same week in 2019, thanks to 293,341 container and trailers (up 10.8%) while the 227,437 carloads represented a 7.3% decrease. Just three of 10 carload commodity groups were above 2019 levels, led by grain, showing a 23.9% increase. For the year to date, overall traffic is down 9.3%, with carloads down 14.5% and intermodal down 4.4%. Grain, up 0.8%, is the only commodity group showing an increase.

For all of October, there were 2,082,646 combined carload and intermodal traffic originations, an increase of 2% over October 2019. That included 1,169,874 containers and trailers, up 10%, and 912,772 carloads, down 6.6%.

“Thanks largely to rising imports and inventory restocking in preparation for the holidays, October was the best month ever for U.S. rail intermodal, with volumes up by a third from April of this year. That’s a stunning increase in six months,” AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray said in a press relase “Meanwhile, U.S. rail carloads rose in October for 10 of the 20 carload categories we track, the most since the pandemic began.”

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