WASHINGTON — Emphasizing the degree to which rail traffic has recovered from its pandemic-induced slump in 2020 — as well as how dramatic that decline was — the latest figures from the Association of American Railroads show volume has increased by nearly a quarter from the same week a year ago.
Total traffic for the week ending April 10 reached 513,724 carloads and intermodal units, a 24.5% jump from the corresponding week in 2020. That includes 233,300 carloads, an increase of 17.4%, and 280,424 containers and trailers, up 31.2%. Nine of 10 carload groups showed increases, led by a whopping 450% increase in motor vehicles and parts. At this time a year ago, auto production was largely shuttered because of the pandemic. Year-to-date totals show carloads down 1.3% over the same period in 2020, while intermodal units shows a 14.3% increase. Overall traffic is up 6.8%.
The North American totals for 12 reporting U.S., Canadian, and Mexican railroads show 333,230 carloads, an increase of 16%, and 372,251 intermodal units, up 28.4%, for a combined total of 705,481 carloads and units, up 22.2%. Overall year-to-date volume for North America is up 6.2% compared to the same period in 2020.