WASHINGTON, D.C. – January 4, 2023
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending December 31, 2022, as well as volumes for December 2022.
U.S. railroads originated 842,171 carloads in December 2022, down 4.4 percent, or 38,476 carloads, from December 2021. U.S. railroads also originated 900,213 containers and trailers in December 2022, down 5.2 percent, or 49,107 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in December 2022 were 1,742,384, down 4.8 percent, or 87,583 carloads and intermodal units from December 2021.
In December 2022, four of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with December 2021. These included: motor vehicles & parts, up 5,842 carloads or 12.9 percent; crushed stone, sand & gravel, up 2,034 carloads or 3 percent; and food products, up 721 carloads or 3.2 percent. Commodities that saw declines in December 2022 from December 2021 included: chemicals, down 16,067 carloads or 12.1 percent; coal, down 12,991 carloads or 5.2 percent; and grain, down 4,589 carloads or 5.2 percent.
“Rail markets are always evolving, and 2022 was no exception,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Coal carloads grew solidly in 2022 largely because higher natural gas prices made coal-fired electricity generation more competitive. However, those same higher natural gas prices, along with other market disruptors, hurt rail chemical volumes, since natural gas is a key raw material for chemical manufacturing. Grain carloads in 2022 were slightly higher than the annual average over the past decade, but they were down year-over-year because 2021 was the best year for grain carloads since 2008. Intermodal volume in 2022 was the sixth best ever, but down from an even stronger 2021.”
Excluding coal, carloads were down 25,485 carloads, or 4 percent, in December 2022 from December 2021. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 20,896 carloads, or 3.9 percent.
Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 12 months of 2022 was 11,976,283 carloads, down 0.3 percent, or 34,001 carloads, from the same period last year; and 13,452,480 intermodal units, down 4.9 percent, or 686,580 containers and trailers, from last year.
Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 52 weeks of 2022 was 25,428,763 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 2.8 percent compared to last year.
Week Ending December 31, 2022
Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 365,553 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.8 percent compared with the same week last year.
Total carloads for the week ending December 31 were 179,992 carloads, down 12.5 percent compared with the same week in 2021, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 185,561 containers and trailers, down 0.5 percent compared to 2021.
One of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2021. It was motor vehicles and parts, up 466 carloads, to 9,418. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2021 included chemicals, down 7,190 carloads, to 25,174; coal, down 6,330 carloads, to 52,863; and nonmetallic minerals, down 3,248 carloads, to 19,853.
North American rail volume for the week ending December 31, 2022, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 256,632 carloads, down 8 percent compared with the same week last year, and 244,189 intermodal units, down 0.1 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 500,821 carloads and intermodal units, down 4.3 percent. North American rail volume for the first 52 weeks of 2022 was 34,897,040 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.9 percent compared with 2021.
Canadian railroads reported 59,380 carloads for the week, up 3.6 percent, and 47,068 intermodal units, down 1.2 percent compared with the same week in 2021. For the first 52 weeks of 2022, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 7,516,426 carloads, containers and trailers, down 0.6 percent.
Mexican railroads reported 17,260 carloads for the week, up 9.7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,560 intermodal units, up 11.4 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 52 weeks of 2022 was 1,951,851 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 4.4 percent from the same point last year.
For more information, contact: AAR Media Relations at email@example.com 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.