Monday, August 06, 2018

AAR: July Rail Carloads Up 3.5% YoY, Intermodal Up 6.9% YoY

by Bill McBride on 8/06/2018 08:11:00 AM

From the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Rail Time Indicators. Graphs and excerpts reprinted with permission.

All things considered, U.S. rail traffic did well in July 2018. Total originated carloads were up 3.5%, or 35,208 carloads, compared with July 2017. That’s the fifth straight year-over-year monthly gain.

Intermodal volume in July on U.S. railroads was up 6.9%, the largest percentage increase in 19 months. 2018 will be another record year for intermodal.
Rail Traffic Click on graph for larger image.

This graph from the Rail Time Indicators report shows U.S. average weekly rail carloads (NSA).  Light blue is 2018.

Rail carloads have been weak over the last decade due to the decline in coal shipments.
U.S. railroads originated 1,048,293 carloads in July 2018, up 3.5%, or 35,208 carloads, over July 2017. Weekly average total carloads were 262,073 in July 2018, the most for July since 2015. July’s 3.5% gain is the fifth straight year-over-year monthly increase; four of those increases were more than 3%.
Rail TrafficThe second graph is for intermodal traffic (using intermodal or shipping containers):
U.S. intermodal originations totaled 1,108,142 containers and trailers in July 2018, up 6.9%, or 71,782 units, over July 2017. Average weekly intermodal volume in July 2018 was 277,036 units, easily the most ever for July.