The Association of American Railroads has released data for the week ending March 19th, and for the year-to-date for carloads by freight type and intermodal units. Here is the data for the most recent week, as compared to the same week in 2021:

US Rail Traffic, Week Ending March 19, 2022

This Week

Cars Vs. 2020
Total Carloads          232,770 1.1%
Chemicals            34,178 8.4%
Coal            63,929 7.0%
Farm products excl Grain and Food            17,097 6.2%
Forest Products            10,199 -0.9%
Grain            23,317 -14.7%
Metallic Ores and Metals            20,059 -1.8%
Motor Vehicles and Parts            13,953 -6.4%
Nonmetallic Minerals            31,151 6.8%
Petroleum & Petroleum Products               9,181 -21.1%
Other               9,706 5.6%
Total Intermodal Units          266,592 -5.7%
Total Traffic          499,362 -2.7%

As shown in the table, total carloads for the week was just slightly above that recorded for the same week last year, however not all freight categories enjoyed the increase. In particular, we see declines registered in grain, motor vehicles and parts, and petroleum and petroleum products. At a time when the U.S. needs more domestic petroleum production, the decline of just over 20% is revealing about the negative impact of the Biden Administration policies for this industry. For other reasons, it remains discouraging to see motor vehicle and parts shipments remain depressed, particularly when seeing the year-to-date decline is 14% compared to 2021. A small amount of good news in the other categories doesn’t take away the discomfort we see in the declines, unfortunately.

Intermodal shipments were altogether disappointing, with declines not only for the week, but even more so year-to-date. Seems like the promised help from the federal government to “fix” the supply chain hasn’t yet shown up.