Last Wednesday, the Association of American Railroads released data regarding rail traffic for the most recent full week, and also for the month of November. For the month, AAR reported; “U.S. railroads originated 917,787 carloads in November 2021, up 2 percent, or 17,996 carloads, from November 2020. U.S. railroads also originated 1,028,039 containers and trailers in November 2021, down 9.6 percent, or 108,705 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in November 2021 were 1,945,826, down 4.5 percent, or 90,709 carloads and intermodal units from November 2020.” We continue to be puzzled at the actual decline in intermodal traffic since last year. Again, keep in mind that in November 2020 we had no vaccines, shutdowns were widespread and the health system was struggling. Yet, why are we handling fully ten percent less intermodal traffic a year later? Something is not explained, and we further suggest the operators of the west coast ports including the unions should be investigated.

Here is the data for the latest week reported by AAR, as compared to the same week in 2020:

US Rail Traffic, Week Ending November 27, 2021 This Week
Cars Vs. 2020
Total Carloads          209,091 1.6%
Chemicals            30,015 4.9%
Coal            63,947 7.4%
Farm products excl Grain and Food            15,188 4.6%
Forest Products               8,773 -0.9%
Grain            23,616 -5.5%
Metallic Ores and Metals            18,255 -2.9%
Motor Vehicles and Parts            10,700 -10.8%
Nonmetallic Minerals            23,270 4.9%
Petroleum & Petroleum Products               8,934 -1.5%
Other               6,393 -12.9%
Total Intermodal Units          221,702 -10.1%
Total Traffic          430,793 -4.8%