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

Friday, November 03, 2023

AAR: October Rail Combined Carloads and Intermodal Highest Since June 2021

by Calculated Risk on 11/03/2023 04:54:00 PM

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

Combined originated carloads and intermodal units on U.S. railroads averaged 499,331 per week in October 2023, the most for any month since June 2021 — a span of 28 months. Part of the increase relates to intermodal seasonality and concerns over Panama Canal capacity, but part also reflects an economy that remains resilient.
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 on U.S. railroads (not including the U.S. operations of Canadian and Mexican railroads) were down 0.3% (2,921 carloads) in October 2023 from October 2022, their fourth decline in the past five months. Total carloads averaged 230,398 per week in October 2023. That’s down fractionally from 230,429 in September 2023 but otherwise is the highest in a 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):
It’s too soon to say intermodal is back, but October’s numbers are encouraging. U.S. railroads averaged 268,933 intermodal originations per week in October 2023, up 2.2% over October 2022. That’s the second straight year-over-year gain (September was 0.7%) following 18 straight declines. It’s also the biggest weekly average for intermodal since May 2022.