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Intermodal volume down again in latest AAR traffic report

(Source: Progressive Railroading 09/30/2021)

The recent decline in intermodal volume at U.S. railroads continued through the week ending Sept. 25, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

The railroads logged 272,644 containers and trailers, down 7.3% compared with volume during the same week in 2020. U.S. railroads also hauled 239,069 carloads for the week — up 6.6% — but that wasn’t enough to overcome a 1.3% decrease in combined volumes for the week.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by the AAR posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included coal, up 11,681 carloads to 70,002; metallic ores and metals, up 4,418 carloads to 24,120; and nonmetallic minerals, up 4,103 carloads to 34,083.

Commodity groups that posted year-over-year decreases included motor vehicles and parts, down 4,774 carloads to 11,563; grain, down 3,128 carloads to 21,864; and farm products excluding grain, and food, down 169 carloads to 15,503.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported 79,652 carloads for the week, down 2.5%, and 71,153 intermodal units, down 6.7%. Mexican railroads reported 19,976 carloads, up 11.1%, and 14,825 intermodal units, down 10.6%.

For the first 38 weeks of 2021 compared with the same period in 2020:
• U.S. railroads reported 19,305,898 carloads and intermodal units, up 9.3%;
• Canadian railroads logged cumulative volume of 5,630,827 carloads, containers and trailers, up 5.3%; and
• Mexican railroads posted 1,392,436 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.9%.

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