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AAR reports rail traffic for May and week ending May 29, 2021

(Source: Association of American Railroads press release, June 2, 2021)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ending May 29, 2021, as well as volumes for May 2021.

U.S. railroads originated 964,356 carloads in May 2021, up 30.4 percent, or 224,623 carloads, from May 2020. U.S. railroads also originated 1,151,824 containers and trailers in May 2021, up 26.2 percent, or 238,927 units, from the same month last year. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in May 2021 were 2,116,180, up 28 percent, or 463,550 carloads and intermodal units from May 2020.

In May 2021, 18 of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR each month saw carload gains compared with May 2020. These included: coal, up 77,228 carloads or 41.7 percent; motor vehicles & parts, up 34,021 carloads or 206.5 percent; and chemicals, up 23,368 carloads or 20.8 percent. Commodities that saw declines in May 2021 from May 2020 included: farm products excluding grain, down 166 carloads or 4.9 percent; and primary forest products, down 67 carloads or 1.7 percent.

“U.S. rail volumes in May 2021 were encouraging. Total carloads were the most for any month since October 2019 on a weekly average basis,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “In May, 18 of the 20 carload categories we track had carload gains over May 2020, while 12 of the 20 had gains over May 2019. Meanwhile, intermodal just had the best January to May period ever for U.S. railroads. Railroads hope to build on these gains in the months ahead as they help the economy return to strong, sustainable growth.”

Excluding coal, carloads were up 147,395 carloads, or 26.6 percent, in May 2021 from May 2020. Excluding coal and grain, carloads were up 131,319 carloads, or 28 percent.

Total U.S. carload traffic for the first five months of 2021 was 4,827,293 carloads, up 7.3 percent, or 329,416 carloads, from the same period last year; and 5,945,322 intermodal units, up 19.2 percent, or 957,198 containers and trailers, from last year.

Total combined U.S. traffic for the first 21 weeks of 2021 was 10,772,615 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 13.6 percent compared to last year.

Week Ending May 29, 2021

Total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 530,225 carloads and intermodal units, up 34 percent compared with the same week last year.

Total carloads for the week ending May 29 were 243,304 carloads, up 35.3 percent compared with the same week in 2020, while U.S. weekly intermodal volume was 286,921 containers and trailers, up 33 percent compared to 2020.

All of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. They included coal, up 20,616 carloads, to 66,651; metallic ores and metals, up 11,742 carloads, to 24,396; and chemicals, up 7,312 carloads, to 34,016.

North American rail volume for the week ending May 29, 2021, on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 341,112 carloads, up 28.1 percent compared with the same week last year, and 376,337 intermodal units, up 28.1 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 717,449 carloads and intermodal units, up 28.1 percent. North American rail volume for the first 21 weeks of 2021 was 14,727,824 carloads and intermodal units, up 12.1 percent compared with 2020.

Canadian railroads reported 76,598 carloads for the week, up 11.1 percent, and 72,839 intermodal units, up 15.4 percent compared with the same week in 2020. For the first 21 weeks of 2021, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 3,184,981 carloads, containers and trailers, up 8.7 percent.

Mexican railroads reported 21,210 carloads for the week, up 21.4 percent compared with the same week last year, and 16,577 intermodal units, up 11 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 21 weeks of 2021 was 770,228 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 7 percent from the same point last year.

Friday, June 4, 2021

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