The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending October 28, 2023, as well as volumes for October 2023.
U.S. railroads originated 921,591 carloads in October 2023, down 0.3 percent, or 2,921 carloads, from October 2022. U.S. railroads also originated 1,075,731 containers and trailers in October 2023, up 2.2 percent, or 23,201 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in October 2023 were 1,997,322, up 1.0 percent, or 20,280 carloads and intermodal units from October 2022.
In October 2023, nine of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with October 2022. These included: petroleum & petroleum products, up 5,046 carloads or 14.2 percent; chemicals, up 3,842 carloads or 3.2 percent; and motor vehicles & parts, up 3,154 carloads or 5.4 percent. Commodities that saw declines in October 2023 from October 2022 included: coal, down 12,284 carloads or 4.5 percent; grain, down 4,373 carloads or 4.7 percent; and crushed stone, sand & gravel, down 795 carloads or 0.9 percent.
“Combined carload and intermodal volumes on U.S. railroads in October were the most for any month since June 2021, a span of 28 months,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Part of that relates to intermodal seasonality and concerns over Panama Canal capacity, but part of it also reflects an economy that remains resilient as reflected by recent strong GDP data.”
Excluding coal, carloads were up 9,363 carloads, or 1.4 percent, in October 2023 from October 2022. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 13,736 carloads, or 2.5 percent.
Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 10 months of 2023 was 9,696,421 carloads, up 0.2 percent, or 21,802 carloads, from the same period last year; and 10,405,065 intermodal units, down 7.2 percent, or 808,532 containers and trailers, from last year.
Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 43 weeks of 2023 was 20,101,486 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 3.8 percent compared to last year.
Week Ending October 28, 2023
Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 499,389 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.2 percent compared with the same week last year.
Total carloads for the week ending October 28 were 227,575 carloads, down 4.2 percent compared with the same week in 2022, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 271,814 containers and trailers, up 1.5 percent compared to 2022.
Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2022. They were chemicals, up 1,334 carloads, to 31,336; petroleum and petroleum products, up 1,182 carloads, to 9,978; and farm products excl. grain, and food, up 246 carloads, to 16,788. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2022 included coal, down 7,264 carloads, to 63,676; nonmetallic minerals, down 1,573 carloads, to 32,423; and grain, down 1,303 carloads, to 22,941.
North American rail volume for the week ending October 28, 2023, on 10 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 339,642 carloads, down 2.6 percent compared with the same week last year, and 353,354 intermodal units, down 0.8 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 692,996 carloads and intermodal units, down 1.7 percent. North American rail volume for the first 43 weeks of 2023 was 28,145,583 carloads and intermodal units, down 3.5 percent compared with 2022.
Canadian railroads reported 95,880 carloads for the week, up 3.8 percent, and 70,444 intermodal units, down 7.1 percent compared with the same week in 2022. For the first 43 weeks of 2023, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 6,843,396 carloads, containers and trailers, down 3.5 percent.
Mexican railroads reported 16,187 carloads for the week, down 13.5 percent compared with the same week last year, and 11,096 intermodal units, down 11.5 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 43 weeks of 2023 was 1,200,701 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 2.0 percent from the same point last year.
To view rail traffic charts, click here.