Rail Traffic for the Week Ending March 20, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. – March 24, 2021 – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending March 20, 2021. Comparisons of the current week with the same week in 2020 are inflated because of the widespread economy-wide shutdowns — and subsequent large reduction in rail volumes — last year at this time.

For this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 513,325 carloads and intermodal units, up 11.6 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending March 20 were 230,605 carloads, up 2.9 percent compared with the same week in 2020, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 282,720 containers and trailers, up 19.8 percent compared to 2020.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included grain, up 6,332 carloads, to 27,332; coal, up 3,670 carloads, to 59,816; and metallic ores and metals, up 1,977 carloads, to 20,567. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2020 included chemicals, down 2,960 carloads, to 31,540; nonmetallic minerals, down 1,497 carloads, to 29,177; and motor vehicles and parts, down 952 carloads, to 14,927.

For the first 11 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,448,722 carloads, down 4.3 percent from the same point last year; and 3,044,628 intermodal units, up 10.7 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 11 weeks of 2021 was 5,493,350 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 3.5 percent compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ending March 20, 2021, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 332,173 carloads, up 0.7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 371,385 intermodal units, up 18.8 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 703,558 carloads and intermodal units, up 9.5 percent. North American rail volume for the first 11 weeks of 2021 was 7,553,569 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.4 percent compared with 2020.

Canadian railroads reported 81,088 carloads for the week, down 3.6 percent, and 73,409 intermodal units, up 20.4 percent compared with the same week in 2020. For the first 11 weeks of 2021, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 1,655,256 carloads, containers and trailers, up 5.7 percent.

Mexican railroads reported 20,480 carloads for the week, down 5.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 15,256 intermodal units, down 2.9 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 11 weeks of 2021 was 404,963 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, down 5.7 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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