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The AAR reports on US weekly rail traffic

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Dry Bulk,


The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has released its report on US rail traffic for the week ending 3 February 2024, as well as volumes for January 2024.

US railroads originated 1 025 168 carloads in January 2024, down 7.2%, or 79 725 carloads, from January 2023. US railroads also originated 1 206 014 containers and trailers in January 2024, up 5.5%, or 63 195 units, from the same month in 2023. Combined US carload and intermodal originations in January 2024 were 2 231 182, down 0.7%, or 16 530 carloads and intermodal units from January 2023.

In January 2024, six of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with January 2023. These included: chemicals, up 4298 carloads or 2.9%; petroleum & petroleum products, up 2172 carloads or 4.5%; and primary metal products, up 1447 carloads or 3.6%. Commodities that saw declines in January 2024 from January 2023 included: coal, down 40 542 carloads or 12.3%; crushed stone, sand & gravel, down 18 260 carloads or 19.5%; and grain, down 14 367 carloads or 12.8%.

“In January, severe winter weather significantly disrupted railroad and rail customer operations in much of the country,” said AAR economist Dan Keen. “Moreover, uncertainty remains in the economy, especially in sectors that are important to railroads, like manufacturing. Because of these factors, January is not necessarily a harbinger of what’s to come for rail traffic in the months ahead.”

Excluding coal, carloads were down 39 183 carloads, or 5.0%, in January 2024 from January 2023. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 24 816 carloads, or 3.7%.

Week Ending 3 February 2024

Total US weekly rail traffic was 491 697 carloads and intermodal units, up 11.6% compared with the same week in 2023.

Total carloads for the week ending 3 February were 222 213 carloads, up 6.3% compared with the same week in 2023, while US weekly intermodal volume was 269 484 containers and trailers, up 16.5% compared to 2023.

All of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2023. They included coal, up 4641 carloads, to 62 779; motor vehicles and parts, up 2297 carloads, to 15 455; and metallic ores and metals, up 1096 carloads, to 19 457.

North American rail volume for the week ending 3 February 2024, on 10 reporting US, Canadian and Mexican railroads totalled 328 148 carloads, up 4.7% compared with the same week in 2023, and 352 559 intermodal units, up 15.4% compared with 2023. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 680 707 carloads and intermodal units, up 10%. North American rail volume for the first five weeks of 2024 was 3 112 134 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.4% compared with 2023.

Canadian railroads reported 91 685 carloads for the week, up 1.8%, and 72 643 intermodal units, up 12.7% compared with the same week in 2023. For the first five weeks of 2024, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 743 641 carloads, containers and trailers, down 5.8%.

Mexican railroads reported 14 250 carloads for the week, up 0.4% compared with the same week in 2023, and 10 432 intermodal units, up 8.6%. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first five weeks of 2024 was 137 311 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 16.1% from the same point in 2023.


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Grain cargo news Dry cargo news Coal news