US Freight Railroad and Intermodal Usage Slips in 2022

According to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) on Thursday (1-5-22), the US operations of freight railroads handled 25.4 million carloads and intermodal units in 2022. This is down 2.8% from 2021. US carload traffic was flat to lower, slipping 0.3% to nearly 12 million carloads, while intermodal volumes dropped 4.9% to about 13.4 million containers and trailers.

For carloads, the AAR reports that the five commodities with the biggest volume in 2022 showed no consistent trend year-over-year. Coal volumes rose 2.7% to 3.4 million carloads and volumes for non-metallic minerals—which include crushed stone, sand, and gravel—increase 3.7% to 1.6 million carloads. Chemical volumes were basically flat at nearly 1.7 million carloads. Grain volumes slipped 4.2% to 1.1 million carloads and metallic ore and minerals volumes fell 6.6% to nearly 1.1 million carloads.

The AAR reported that in December 2022, rail traffic was down 4.8% to 1.7 million carloads and intermodal units, with US carloads slipping 4.4% to 842,171 carloads and intermodal units falling 5.2% to 900,213 containers and trailers.

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