Readers may recall that we noted in a previous update that at this point it is hard to get a feel for carload and intermodal traffic statistics when comparing current data to last year’s data at this stage of the pandemic. While that remains the case, it is still helpful to see what data is coming in and to consider it in light of the overall industry marketplace.

According to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) May 26 report: “Total carloads for the week ending May 22 were 242,227 carloads, up 27.2 percent compared with the same week in 2020, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 286,547 containers and trailers, up 20.4 percent compared to 2020.” Further, AAR reports: “For the first 20 weeks of 2021, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 4,583,989 carloads, up 6.2 percent from the same point last year; and 5,658,401 intermodal units, up 18.6 percent from last year. Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 20 weeks of 2021 was 10,242,390 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 12.7 percent compared to last year.”

This news remains positive and continues to confirm industry is returning to production and shipments by rail as the economy further emerges from the fear and lower demand triggered by the pandemic. Let’s all hope this trend continues uninterrupted!

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