Railroad Aggregates Volumes Down in January

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported U.S. rail volumes for January 2024.

U.S. railroads originated 1,025,168 carloads in January 2024, down 7.2%, or 79,725 carloads, from January 2023. U.S. railroads also originated 1,206,014 containers and trailers in January 2024, up 5.5%, or 63,195 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in January 2024 were 2,231,182, down 0.7%, or 16,530 carloads and intermodal units from January 2023.

In January 2024, six of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with January 2023. These included: chemicals, up 4,298 carloads or 2.9%; petroleum and petroleum products, up 2,172 carloads or 4.5%; and primary metal products, up 1,447 carloads or 3.6%. 

Commodities that saw declines in January 2024 from January 2023 included: coal, down 40,542 carloads or 12.3%; crushed stone, sand and gravel, down 18,260 carloads or 19.5%; and grain, down 14,367 carloads or 12.8%.

“In January, severe winter weather significantly disrupted railroad and rail customer operations in much of the country,” said AAR economist Dan Keen. “Moreover, uncertainty remains in the economy, especially in sectors that are important to railroads, like manufacturing. Because of these factors, January is not necessarily a harbinger of what’s to come for rail traffic in the months ahead.”

Excluding coal, carloads were down 39,183 carloads, or 5.0%, in January 2024 from January 2023. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 24,816 carloads, or 3.7%.

Related posts