Rail Traffic for the Week Ending August 28, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 1, 2021

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending August 28, 2021, as well as volumes for August 2021.

U.S. railroads originated 934,762 carloads in August 2021, up 4.1 percent, or 36,815 carloads, from August 2020. U.S. railroads also originated 1,085,345 containers and trailers in August 2021, down 3.3 percent, or 37,603 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in August 2021 were 2,020,107, down 0 percent, or 788 carloads and intermodal units from August 2020.

In August 2021, 14 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with August 2020. These included: coal, up 20,666 carloads or 8.4 percent; crushed stone, sand & gravel, up 7,955 carloads or 10.6 percent; and primary metal products, up 7,948 carloads or 26.1 percent. Commodities that saw declines in August 2021 from August 2020 included: grain, down 15,539 carloads or 17.5 percent; motor vehicles & parts, down 10,640 carloads or 16.5 percent; and farm products excl. grain, down 1,253 carloads or 35.8 percent.

“Rail traffic is navigating many of the same challenges plaguing other supply chain participants, including chassis and container shortages at ports; shortages of drayage truck drivers; port congestion; insufficient warehouse capacity at many locations; and now, weather problems in the Gulf” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Faced with this, railroads are working hard, in cooperation with other stakeholders, to keep the national rail network fluid.”

Excluding coal, carloads were up 16,149 carloads, or 2.5 percent, in August 2021 from August 2020. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 31,688 carloads, or 5.6 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first eight months of 2021 was 7,841,957 carloads, up 8.4 percent, or 610,364 carloads, from the same period last year; and 9,483,581 intermodal units, up 12.7 percent, or 1,071,679 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 34 weeks of 2021 was 17,325,538 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 10.8 percent compared to last year.

Week Ending August 28, 2021

Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 504,417 carloads and intermodal units, down 0.7 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending August 28 were 234,661 carloads, up 4.1 percent compared with the same week in 2020, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 269,756 containers and trailers, down 4.6 percent compared to 2020.

Seven of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included coal, up 5,586 carloads, to 68,330; metallic ores and metals, up 4,190 carloads, to 23,815; and nonmetallic minerals, up 3,434 carloads, to 33,272. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2020 were grain, down 4,420 carloads, to 17,260; motor vehicles and parts, down 3,307 carloads, to 13,302; and farm products excl. grain, and food, down 482 carloads, to 14,647.

North American rail volume for the week ending August 28, 2021, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 330,432 carloads, up 3.2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 356,346 intermodal units, down 4.6 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 686,778 carloads and intermodal units, down 1 percent. North American rail volume for the first 34 weeks of 2021 was 23,620,753 carloads and intermodal units, up 9.6 percent compared with 2020.

Canadian railroads reported 74,515 carloads for the week, up 1.9 percent, and 71,918 intermodal units, down 2.1 percent compared with the same week in 2020. For the first 34 weeks of 2021, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 5,046,182 carloads, containers and trailers, up 6.7 percent.

Mexican railroads reported 21,256 carloads for the week, down 1.8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 14,672 intermodal units, down 16.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 34 weeks of 2021 was 1,249,033 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.5 percent from the same point last year.

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For more information contact: AAR Media Relations at [email protected] or 202-639-2345.

About AAR: The Association of American Railroads (AAR) is the world’s leading railroad policy, research and technology organization focusing on the safety and productivity of rail carriers. AAR members include the major freight railroads of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. Learn more at www.aar.org.

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