The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending April 30, 2022, as well as volumes for April 2022. U.S. railroads originated 919,703 carloads in April 2022, down 3.4 percent, or 31,929 carloads, from April 2021. U.S. railroads also originated 1,083,151 containers and trailers in April 2022, down 7.7 percent, or 90,869 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in April 2022 were 2,002,854, down 5.8 percent, or 122,798 carloads and intermodal units from April 2021.
In April 2022, eight of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with April 2021. These included: motor vehicles & parts, up 5,649 carloads or 12 percent; chemicals, up 4,463 carloads or 3.4 percent; and food products, up 1,632 carloads or 6.7 percent. Commodities that saw declines in April 2022 from April 2021 included: grain, down 15,817 carloads or 15.2 percent; metallic ores, down 9,070 carloads or 32.5 percent; and petroleum & petroleum products, down 7,670 carloads or 17.3 percent.
“U.S. rail traffic in April had something for everyone,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Optimists can point to autos, chemicals, and scrap, all of which had solid gains. Pessimists can point to grain, intermodal, and petroleum products, which saw significant declines. In the middle are carloads of industrial products — an aggregation of seven key carload categories — which fell slightly in April, consistent with the most recent GDP numbers.”
Excluding coal, carloads were down 29,329 carloads, or 4.2 percent, in April 2022 from April 2021. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 13,512 carloads, or 2.3 percent.
Total U.S. carload traffic for the first four months of 2022 was 3,906,843 carloads, up 1.1 percent, or 44,191 carloads, from the same period last year; and 4,453,049 intermodal units, down 7.1 percent, or 340,541 containers and trailers, from last year.
Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 17 weeks of 2022 was 8,359,892 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 3.4 percent compared to last year.
Week Ending April 30, 2022
Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 506,699 carloads and intermodal units, down 6.3 percent compared with the same week last year.
Total carloads for the week ending April 30 were 232,972 carloads, down 3.4 percent compared with the same week in 2021, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 273,727 containers and trailers, down 8.7 percent compared to 2021.
Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2021. They were motor vehicles and parts, up 2,486 carloads, to 13,826; chemicals, up 2,478 carloads, to 34,529; and forest products, up 8 carloads, to 10,175. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2021 included grain, down 6,730 carloads, to 21,380; petroleum and petroleum products, down 2,148 carloads, to 8,824; and metallic ores and metals, down 2,044 carloads, to 22,373.
North American rail volume for the week ending April 30, 2022, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 332,643 carloads, down 3.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 367,898 intermodal units, down 4.8 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 700,541 carloads and intermodal units, down 4 percent. North American rail volume for the first 17 weeks of 2022 was 11,373,663 carloads and intermodal units, down 4 percent compared with 2021.
Canadian railroads reported 77,162 carloads for the week, down 3 percent, and 77,779 intermodal units, up 10.9 percent compared with the same week in 2021. For the first 17 weeks of 2022, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 2,387,492 carloads, containers and trailers, down 7.3 percent.
Mexican railroads reported 22,509 carloads for the week, up 0.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 16,392 intermodal units, down 0.7 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 17 weeks of 2022 was 626,279 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 0.9 percent from the same point last year.