Rail Traffic for the Week Ending October 30, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – November 3, 2021

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending October 30, 2021, as well as volumes for October 2021.

U.S. railroads originated 947,013 carloads in October 2021, up 3.8 percent, or 34,510 carloads, from October 2020. U.S. railroads also originated 1,077,515 containers and trailers in October 2021, down 7.9 percent, or 92,400 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in October 2021 were 2,024,528, down 2.8 percent, or 57,890 carloads and intermodal units from October 2020.

In October 2021, 15 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with October 2020. These included: coal, up 19,783 carloads or 8.3 percent; chemicals, up 8,184 carloads or 6.7 percent; and crushed stone, sand & gravel, up 5,331 carloads or 7.1 percent. Commodities that saw declines in October 2021 from October 2020 included: motor vehicles & parts, down 9,487 carloads or 15.3 percent; grain, down 6,375 carloads or 6.0 percent; and petroleum & petroleum products, down 2,495 carloads or 6.1 percent.

“For railroads, the supply chain challenges are being felt most keenly in our intermodal terminals where rail customers have been unable to clear their freight as quickly as they and the railroads would like,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “The shortages of dray trucks, drivers and warehouse space are significant constraints that drove intermodal volumes down in October. Railroads continue to work closely with their customers and supply chain partners to address these challenges, while maintaining network fluidity and delivering the maximum possible freight volumes safely and efficiently.”

Excluding coal, carloads were up 14,727 carloads, or 2.2 percent, in October 2021 from October 2020. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 21,102 carloads, or 3.7 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 10 months of 2021 was 9,956,652 carloads, up 7.5 percent, or 692,732 carloads, from the same period last year; and 11,889,623 intermodal units, up 8.0 percent, or 883,962 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 43 weeks of 2021 was 21,846,275 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 7.8 percent compared to last year.

Week Ending October 30, 2021

Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 510,141 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.0 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending October 30 were 238,267 carloads, up 4.9 percent compared with the same week in 2020, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 271,874 containers and trailers, down 7.3 percent compared to 2020.

Six of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included coal, up 8,365 carloads, to 66,818; metallic ores and metals, up 3,405 carloads, to 24,059; and chemicals, up 2,800 carloads, to 33,343. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2020 included grain, down 2,340 carloads, to 24,711; motor vehicles and parts, down 2,123 carloads, to 12,697; and miscellaneous carloads, down 872 carloads, to 9,422.

North American rail volume for the week ending October 30, 2021, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 337,727 carloads, up 3.7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 357,365 intermodal units, down 8.7 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 695,092 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.0 percent. North American rail volume for the first 43 weeks of 2021 was 29,775,813 carloads and intermodal units, up 6.7 percent compared with 2020.

Canadian railroads reported 79,459 carloads for the week, up 3.3 percent, and 69,710 intermodal units, down 14.1 percent compared with the same week in 2020. For the first 43 weeks of 2021, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 6,377,405 carloads, containers and trailers, up 3.9 percent.

Mexican railroads reported 20,001 carloads for the week, down 6.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 15,781 intermodal units, down 5.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 43 weeks of 2021 was 1,552,133 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 3.3 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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