From the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Rail Time Indicators. Graphs and excerpts reprinted with permission.
March 2022 was another mixed month for U.S. rail volumes. Total carloads were up 1.2% over March 2021. That’s their 12th gain in the past 13 months, but also their smallest percentage gain during that period. Total carloads averaged 233,909 per week, the second most in the past nine months. Intermodal originations, by contrast, were down 6.4% in March 2022 from March 2021. Intermodal has been down on a year-over-year basis for seven of the past eight months.
This graph from the Rail Time Indicators report shows the six-week average of U.S. Carloads in 2020, 2021 and 2022:
n March 2022, total originated U.S. rail carloads were up 1.2% (13,456 carloads) over March 2021. That’s the 12th gain for total carloads in the past 13 months, but it’s also the smallest percentage increase for the 12 months with gains. Total carloads averaged 233,909 per week in March 2022, the second most in the past nine months (October 2021 was higher).
The second graph shows the six-week average (not monthly) of U.S. intermodal in 2020, 2021 and 2022: (using intermodal or shipping containers):
For intermodal, originations in March 2022 totaled 1.34 million containers and trailers, down 6.4% (92,170 units) from March 2021. For the first three months of 2022, volume was 3.37 million units, down 6.9% (249,672) from last year. The first three months of 2021 were by far the highest-volume first three months of a year in history for intermodal. The comparable figure for this year is the fourth highest in history (behind 2021, 2018, and 2019).