AAR rail traffic stats show continuing intermodal strength

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Association of American Railroads

WASHINGTON — Continuing long-running trends, Association of American Railroads rail traffic statistics for the week ending Nov. 21 shows intermodal volume lifting overall traffic ahead of the level for the same week in 2019, while carload traffic remains down. The year-to-date gap between 2019 and 2020 levels is decreasing, however.

For the week, total traffic of 534,607 carloads and intermodal units is up 2.5% against week 47 totals of 2019, with the 301,129 intermodal units an increase of 11.5%. The 233,478 total carloads is a 7.2% decrease; three commodity categories are ahead of 2019 levels, led by grain, up 13.4%. Four of the seven categories showing decreases are down by more than 12%.

The cumulative total of 22,268,906 carloads and intermodal units is a 8.5% decrease from 2019 levels, but as little as two weeks ago, that figure was 9.1% below the 2019 volume. Carloads are running 14% below 2019 while intermodal units are down 3.4%.

The week’s rail volume across North America showed carload traffic in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico down 1.7%, while intermodal units are up 11.9%. Year-to-date overall volume is down 7.95. In Canada, carloads were up 18.3% and intermodal was up 21% over the same week in 2019; year-to-date traffic is down 5.2%.

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