Rail Traffic Report: Aggregates Carloads Increase

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending May 28, 2022, as well as volumes for May 2022.

U.S. railroads originated 928,742 carloads in May 2022, down 3.7%, or 35,821 carloads, from May 2021. U.S. railroads also originated 1,102,558 containers and trailers in May 2022, down 4.3%, or 49,258 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in May 2022 were 2,031,300, down 4%, or 85,079 carloads and intermodal units from May 2021.

In May 2022, seven of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with May 2021. These included: crushed stone, sand & gravel, up 4,659 carloads or 5.8%; motor vehicles & parts, up 4,534 carloads or 9%; and food products, up 1,652 carloads or 7.1%. Commodities that saw declines in May 2022 from May 2021 included: grain, down 13,738 carloads or 13.5%; primary metal products, down 5,878 carloads or 15.3%; and petroleum & petroleum products, down 5,857 carloads or 13.5%.

“Rail traffic volumes in May reflected an economy that is a mixture of good and not-so-good,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Auto production and auto carloads seem to be slowly recovering; crushed stone and sand and food-related volumes are showing strength while intermodal had its best month since June 2021. On the other hand, carloads of chemicals fell for the first time in more than a year in May while grain volumes continued to be disappointing when compared to those of 2021 and the latter half of 2020.”

Excluding coal, carloads were down 30,281 carloads, or 4.3%, in May 2022 from May 2021. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 16,543 carloads, or 2.8%.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first five months of 2022 was 4,835,705 carloads, up 0.2%, or 8,490 carloads, from the same period last year; and 5,555,607 intermodal units, down 6.6%, or 389,799 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 21 weeks of 2022 was 10,391,312 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 3.5% compared to last year.

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