In Depth Analysis: CalculatedRisk Newsletter on Real Estate (Ad Free) Read it here.

Friday, July 07, 2023

AAR: June Rail Carloads and Intermodal Decreased Year-over-year

by Calculated Risk on 7/07/2023 03:47:00 PM

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

Total originated carloads on U.S. railroads were down 0.2% in June 2023 from June 2022, their first decline in three months. Total carloads in 2023 through June (5.84 million) were up 0.6% (32,547( carloads) over the same period in 2022 and were the highest since 2019.

U.S. intermodal volumes fell again in June — their 7.0% decline from June 2022 was their 16th straight. That said, U.S. railroads originated an average of 247,192 containers and trailers per week in June 2023, the most since October 2022.
emphasis added
Rail Traffic Click on graph for larger image.

This graph from the Rail Time Indicators report shows the six-week average of U.S. Carloads in 2021, 2022 and 2022:
Total originated carloads (which don’t include intermodal) on U.S. railroads in June 2023 were down 0.2% from June 2022, their first decline in three months. In June, 11 of the 20 carload categories we track had carload gains ... Total carloads averaged 225,849 per week in June 2023. Except for December 2022, weekly average total carloads have fluctuated within a relatively narrow band for the past year.
Rail TrafficThe second graph shows the six-week average (not monthly) of U.S. intermodal in 2021, 2022 and 2023: (using intermodal or shipping containers):
U.S. intermodal was down 10.3% in Q2 2023 from Q2 2022 (their eighth straight quarterly decline) and also down 10.3% (698,375 units) for the year to date. Volume was 6.11 million units in the first six months of 2023, the fewest for the first six months of a year since 2013.

Intermodal’s decline is a function of a number of factors, including reduced consumer spending on goods, sharply lower port activity, a lack of inventory growth at retailers, and lower truck rates that are making all-truck movements more price competitive vis-à-vis rail intermodal movements.