United States rail and carload volumes, for the week ending March 25, again saw annual declines, to varying degrees, according to data issued this week by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Rail carloads—at 236,256—were down 0.2% annually, topping the weeks ending March 18 and March 11, at 227,454, and 229,246, respectively.
AAR said that six of the 10 carload commodity groups it tracks saw annual gains, including petroleum and petroleum products, up 1,889 carloads, to 10,524; metallic ores and metals, up 1,321 carloads, to 21,807; and farm products excl. grain, and food, up 986 carloads, to 17,668. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2022 included grain, down 2,650 carloads, to 19,889; coal, down 1,737 carloads, to 68,248; and chemicals, down 1,200 carloads, to 33,050.
Intermodal containers and trailers—at 233,432—fell 13.2% annually, topping the weeks ending March 18 and March 11, at 226,046, and 229,383, respectively.
On a year-to-date basis, through the first 12 weeks of 2023, AAR reported that U.S. rail carloads—at 2,760,079—were off 0.3% annually, and intermodal units—at 2,789,546—were down 10.0%. AAR said that total U.S. rail carloads and intermodal units—at 5,549,625—are down 5.4% compared to the same period a year ago.
North American rail volume for the week ending March 25, 2023, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 342,431 carloads, up 2.7% compared with the same week last year, and 309,347 intermodal units, down 11.9% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 651,778 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.8%. North American rail volume for the first 12 weeks of 2023 was 7,665,257 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.4% compared with 2022.