United States rail carload and intermodal volumes saw annual declines, for the month of March, according to data issued this week by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Rail carloads—at 919,703—were down 3.4%, or 31,929 carloads, annually, said AAR. And it added that eight of the 20 carload commodity categories it tracks saw annual gains, including: motor vehicles & parts, up 5,649 carloads or 12%; chemicals, up 4,463 carloads or 3.4%; and food products, up 1,632 carloads or 6.7%. Commodities with annual declines included: grain, down 15,817 carloads or 15.2% metallic ores, down 9,070 carloads or 32.5%; and petroleum & petroleum products, down 7,670 carloads or 17.3%.
When excluding coal, AAR said that carloads were down 29,329 carloads, or 4.2%, annually. And when excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 13,512 carloads, or 2.3%, for the same period.
Intermodal containers and trailers—at 1,083,151—saw a 7.7%, or 90,869 units, annual decline.
“U.S. rail traffic in April had something for everyone,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray in a statement. “Optimists can point to autos, chemicals, and scrap, all of which had solid gains. Pessimists can point to grain, intermodal, and petroleum products, which saw significant declines. In the middle are carloads of industrial products—an aggregation of seven key carload categories— which fell slightly in April, consistent with the most recent GDP numbers.”
Through the first four months of 2022, U.S. rail carloads came in at 3,906,843, declining 1.1% annually, or 44,191 carloads. Intermodal units were down 7.1%, or 340,541 containers and trailers, to 4,453,049.
For the week ending April 30, U.S. rail carloads fell 3.4% annually, to 232,972, and intermodal units were down 8.7%, to 273,727 containers and trailers.