According to data provided by the Association of American Railroads (AAR), total carloads and intermodal traffic in the United States is down 22.0% YoY for the week ending May 16. This represents only a marginal improvement from the 23.3% YoY decline for the week ending April 18, the low point for the year. Looking exclusively at carloads, traffic continues to worsen as the week ending May 16 showed a 30.2% YoY decline vs a 27.5% decline for the week ending April 18. This most recent YoY reading represents the worst decline since 1988, the year AAR data begin.
The transportation of motor vehicles and parts experienced the worst decline. As of the week ending May 16, carloads are still down 83.3% YoY. Aside from coal which is down 44.0% YoY, motor vehicles and parts were the largest contributors to the total decline in railroad traffic in the US. However, an improvement is anticipated as vehicle sales have seen six straight weeks of increases and auto sales are once again allowed in all 50 states. As would have been expected, out of all categories, grain transportation experienced the lowest decline, 10.4% YoY.
Contrary to the US, Canada and Mexico, our second and third largest trading partners, respectively, are experiencing a continuing decline in carloads and intermodal traffic. In Canada, the week ending May 16 showed a 15.7% YoY decline vs a 10.9% decline for the week ending April 18. In Mexico, the week ending May 16 showed a 27.1% YoY decline vs a 10.2% decline for the week ending April 18. As a whole, North American rail traffic is down 20.9% YoY.
To learn more about the data behind this article and what Association of American Railroads has to offer, visit https://www.aar.org/.
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