Skip to main content

AAR announces latest rail traffic data for the US and North America

Published by , Editor
Dry Bulk,

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has reported US and North American rail traffic data for the week ending 31 October 2020, as well as total US volumes for October 2020.

October 2020

US railroads originated 912 772 carloads in October 2020, down 6.6%, or 64 634 carloads, from October 2019. US railroads also originated 1.16 million containers and trailers in October 2020, up 10.0%, or 105 966 units, from the same month last year. Combined US carload and intermodal originations in October 2020 amounted to 2.08 million, up 2.0%, or 41 332 carloads and intermodal units, from October 2019.

In October 2020, 10 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with October 2019. These included: grain (up 21 557 carloads or 25.5%); iron and steel scrap (up 3579 carloads or 29.1%); and waste & nonferrous scrap (Up 1527 carloads or 11.2%). Commodities that saw declines in October 2020 from October 2019 included: coal (down 56 343 carloads or 19.1%); crushed stone, sand, and gravel (down 14 275 carloads or 16.0%); and petroleum and petroleum products (down 10 199 carloads or 20.0%).

“Thanks largely to rising imports and inventory restocking in preparation for the holidays, October was the best month ever for US rail intermodal, with volumes up by a third from April of this year. That’s a stunning increase in six months,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Meanwhile, US rail carloads rose in October for 10 of the 20 carload categories we track, the most since the pandemic began. Carloads of grain in October were their highest in 13 years, while carloads of motor vehicles and parts have recovered after falling close to 90% earlier this year. Changes in energy markets continue to pressure carloads of coal, petroleum products, and frac sand and holding back total carloads. Excluding those three categories, carloads in October were a few percentage points higher than last year.”

Excluding coal, carloads were down 8291 carloads (1.2%) in October 2020 from October 2019. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 29 848 carloads (5.0%).

Total US carload traffic for the first 10 months of 2020 was 9.48 million carloads, down 14.5%, or 1,608,065 carloads, from the same period last year; and 11.20 million intermodal units, down 4.4%, or 517 668 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined US traffic for the first 44 weeks of 2020 was 20.68 million carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 9.3% compared to last year.

Week ending 31 October 2020

Total US weekly rail traffic was 520 778 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.1% compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending October 31 amounted to 227 437 carloads (down 7.3% compared with the same week in 2019), while US weekly intermodal volumes totalled 293 341 containers and trailers (up 10.8% compared to 2019).

Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2019. They were grain (up 5205 carloads to 27 002); farm products excl. grain, and food (up 635 carloads to 16 580); and metallic ores and metals (up 212 carloads to 20 686). Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2019 included coal (down 13 893 carloads to 58 585); non-metallic minerals (down 4057 carloads to 29 244); and petroleum and petroleum products (down 2505 carloads to 10 202).

North American rail volumes for the week ending 31 October 2020, based on data from 12 reporting US, Canadian, and Mexican railroads totalled 323 590 carloads (down 6.7% compared with the same week last year), and 389 896 intermodal units (up 10.8% compared with last year). Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 713 486 carloads and intermodal units (up 2.1%). North American rail volume for the first 44 weeks of 2020 was 28.46 million carloads and intermodal units (down 8.7% compared with 2019).

Canadian railroads reported 76 575 carloads for the week (down 6.3%) and 81 269 intermodal units (up 20.4% compared with the same week in 2019). For the first 44 weeks of 2020, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 6.26 million carloads, containers, and trailers (down 6.2%).

Mexican railroads reported 19 578 carloads for the week (down 1.4% compared with the same week last year) and 15 286 intermodal units (down 22.5%). Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 44 weeks of 2020 was 1.51 million carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 10.9% from the same point last year.

Read the article online at:

You might also like


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):


This article has been tagged under the following:

Dry bulk freight news Grain cargo news Minor bulks news Dry cargo news