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AAR: October Rail Carloads Up Slightly Year-over-year, Intermodal Down

by Calculated Risk on 11/04/2022 04:20:00 PM

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

October is usually a top month for carloads, and that’s the case in 2022. Total originated U.S.
carloads averaged 238,019 per week in October 2022, the most since May 2021 and up 0.5% over
October 2021. … U.S. intermodal volume fell 1.4% … its 14th decline in the past 15 months.
emphasis added

Click on graph for larger image.

This graph from the Rail Time Indicators report shows the six-week average of U.S. Carloads in 2020, 2021 and 2022:

Total originated carloads on U.S. railroads
averaged 238,019 per week in October 2022, the most
since May 2021 and up 0.5% over October 2021. Typically,
October is the second highest month of the year for total
carloads (behind August), although there is more
variability for monthly rankings for total carloads than
there is for intermodal.

The second graph shows the six-week average (not monthly) of U.S. intermodal in 2020, 2021 and 2022: (using intermodal or shipping containers):

Intermodal volume on U.S. railroads averaged
265,606 containers and trailers per week in October
2022, down 1.4% from October 2021. It’s the eighth
straight monthly decline and the 14th decline in the past
15 months.

High inventories at many retailers; warehouses
that are generally still clogged (related to high
inventories); the fact that many retailers moved up orders
to earlier in the year to ensure delivery before the holiday
season; and lower port volumes are some of the reasons why intermodal volumes this
year are not as high as they otherwise would be.

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