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AAR: December Rail Carloads Down Compared to 2019; Intermodal Up

From the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Rail Time Indicators. Graphs and excerpts reprinted with permission.
U.S. rail carloads totaled 12.01 million in 2021, up 6.6% over 2020 but down 7.4% from 2019. …

For intermodal, 2021 was the tale of two halves. The first six months of 2021 saw record-breaking highs, but volume cooled in the second half as global supply chain challenges persisted. For all of 2021, U.S. railroads originated 14.14 million containers and trailers — up 5.1% over 2020, up 3.4% over 2019, and the second most ever for a full year. Only 2018’s 14.47 million was higher.
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 2019, 2020 and 2021:
U.S. railroads originated 1.14 million total carloads in December 2021, up 3.1% over December 2020 and down 0.7% from December 2019. December was the tenth straight overall year-over-year gain and the fifth straight in the 2%-4% range.
The second graph shows the six week average (not monthly) of U.S. intermodal in 2019, 2020 and 2021: (using intermodal or shipping containers):
Meanwhile, U.S. railroads originated 1.22 million intermodal containers and trailers in December 2021, down 8.2% from December 2020 and the fifth straight year-over-year decline. Volume averaged 244,956 units per week in December 2021, the fewest since May 2020. (December is typically one of the lowest-volume intermodal months of the year.)

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