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Week 22: US Rail Freight Traffic Continues on the Growth Path

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Week 22: US rail freight traffic

On June 6, the Association of American Railroads published its weekly rail freight data for the week that ended on June 2, or Week 22. The data are collected from 12 North American rail carriers (IYT). Carload commodities are classified into 20 major groups, including grain, coal, primary metal products, and chemicals. Intermodal data are reported separately.

In Week 22, overall US railcar traffic including intermodal increased 3.2% YoY (year-over-year) to over 509,700 railcars from ~494,000 railcars. The growth in overall traffic (UNP) was led by intermodal volumes, which rose 6.3% YoY to ~257,600 containers and trailers from over 242,300 containers and trailers.

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Changes in carload commodity groups

In Week 22, eight out of ten commodity groups posted YoY volume rises. These groups included nonmetallic minerals, petroleum and petroleum products, and chemicals. Commodity groups that reported YoY slumps were coal and grain.

In the first 22 weeks of the year, US rail carriers’ (GWR) cumulative traffic rose 1.2% to 5.6 million carloads. Intermodal volumes soared 6% to ~6.0 million, and combined US traffic jumped 3.6% YoY to 11.6 million carloads and intermodal units.

US intermodal

Non-US rail traffic in Week 22

Canadian rail carriers (CP) moved ~80,000 carloads in Week 22, reflecting a YoY rise of 6.4%. However, their intermodal volumes fell 2.2% YoY to ~65,800 trailers and containers. In the first 22 weeks of the year, these railroad companies’ cumulative rail traffic rose 3.4% YoY to 3.2 million carloads and intermodal units.

In Week 22, Mexican railroad companies carried over 20,800 carloads and ~16,100 intermodal units. Cumulatively, Mexican railroad companies moved ~833,000 carloads and intermodal units in the first 22 weeks of the year. Let’s start with BNSF Railway’s (BRK.B) rail traffic.

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