Rail Traffic for Aggregate Products Down in November

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported U.S. rail traffic volumes for November 2023.

U.S. railroads originated 1,128,573 carloads in November 2023, down 0.0%, or 102 carloads, from November 2022. U.S. railroads also originated 1,279,906 containers and trailers in November 2023, up 5.0%, or 60,486 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in November 2023 were 2,408,479, up 2.6%, or 60,384 carloads and intermodal units from November 2022.

In November 2023, 12 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with November 2022. These included: chemicals, up 8,322 carloads or 5.7%; motor vehicles & parts, up 4,611 carloads or 6.6%; and petroleum & petroleum products, up 4,510 carloads or 10.1%. 

Commodities that saw declines in November 2023 from November 2022 included: crushed stone, sand & gravel, down 8,052 carloads or 8.0%; all other carloads, down 6,851 carloads or 25.6%; and grain, down 6,290 carloads or 5.4%.

“U.S. intermodal volume rose 5.0% in November, its third straight year-over-year gain after 18 straight declines and the biggest year-over-year%age gain for intermodal in 29 months.  Overall, the last week of November had the highest carload plus intermodal volumes in two years,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. ”Much will depend on how the broader economy continues to evolve, but railroads are hopeful November will provide much-needed momentum for the rest of 2023 and into 2024.”

Excluding coal, carloads were down 1,059 carloads, or 0.1%, in November 2023 from November 2022. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 5,231 carloads, or 0.8%.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first 11 months of 2023 was 10,824,994 carloads, up 0.2%, or 21,700 carloads, from the same period last year; and 11,684,971 intermodal units, down 6.0%, or 748,046 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 48 weeks of 2023 was 22,509,965 carloads and intermodal units, a decrease of 3.1% compared to last year.

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