The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending May 28, 2022, as well as volumes for May 2022.
U.S. railroads originated 928,742 carloads in May 2022, down 3.7 percent, or 35,821 carloads, from May 2021. U.S. railroads also originated 1,102,558 containers and trailers in May 2022, down 4.3 percent, or 49,258 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in May 2022 were 2,031,300, down 4 percent, or 85,079 carloads and intermodal units from May 2021.
In May 2022, seven of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with May 2021. These included: crushed stone, sand & gravel, up 4,659 carloads or 5.8 percent; motor vehicles & parts, up 4,534 carloads or 9 percent; and food products, up 1,652 carloads or 7.1 percent. Commodities that saw declines in May 2022 from May 2021 included: grain, down 13,738 carloads or 13.5 percent; primary metal products, down 5,878 carloads or 15.3 percent; and petroleum & petroleum products, down 5,857 carloads or 13.5 percent.
“Rail traffic volumes in May reflected an economy that is a mixture of good and not-so-good,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Auto production and auto carloads seem to be slowly recovering; crushed stone and sand and food-related volumes are showing strength while intermodal had its best month since June 2021. On the other hand, carloads of chemicals fell for the first time in more than a year in May, while grain volumes continued to be disappointing when compared to those of 2021 and the latter half of 2020.”
Excluding coal, carloads were down 30,281 carloads, or 4.3 percent, in May 2022 from May 2021. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 16,543 carloads, or 2.8 percent.
Total U.S. carload traffic for the first five months of 2022 was 4,835,705 carloads, up 0.2 percent, or 8,490 carloads, from the same period last year; and 5,555,607 intermodal units, down 6.6 percent, or 389,799 containers and trailers, from last year.
Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 21 weeks of 2022 was 10,391,312 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 3.5 percent compared to last year.
Week ending May 28, 2022
Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 514,277 carloads and intermodal units, down 3 percent compared with the same week last year.
Total carloads for the week ending May 28 were 233,633 carloads, down 4 percent compared with the same week in 2021, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 280,644 containers and trailers, down 2.2 percent compared to 2021.
Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2021. They were farm products excl. grain, and food, up 1,311 carloads, to 16,694; miscellaneous carloads, up 939 carloads, to 11,160; and motor vehicles and parts, up 770 carloads, to 13,708. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2021 included grain, down 3,849 carloads, to 21,686; metallic ores and metals, down 3,251 carloads, to 21,109; and coal, down 2,711 carloads, to 63,937.
North American rail volume for the week ending May 28, 2022, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 330,951 carloads, down 2.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 365,869 intermodal units, down 2.4 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 696,820 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.5 percent. North American rail volume for the first 21 weeks of 2022 was 14,163,140 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.8 percent compared with 2021.
Canadian railroads reported 77,381 carloads for the week, up 0.9 percent, and 70,418 intermodal units, down 3.2 percent compared with the same week in 2021. For the first 21 weeks of 2022, Canadian railroads reported a cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,990,982 carloads, containers, and trailers, down 6.1 percent.
Mexican railroads reported 19,937 carloads for the week, up 2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 14,807 intermodal units, down 2.1 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 21 weeks of 2022 was 780,846 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 3 percent from the same point last year.
For the U.S., Canada, and Mexico Rail Charts, click here.