Good news came out of The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today as they reported U.S. rail traffic volumes for August 2020. Combined U.S. carload and intermodal originations in August 2020 surpassed 2 million trips, down 5.8 percent, from August 2019.
U.S. railroads originated nearly 900,000 carloads in the month of August 2020, down 15 percent, from August 2019 while U.S. railroads also originated over 1,100,000 containers and trailers in August 2020, up 3 percent, from the same month last year. The monthly U.S. intermodal volume gain was definitely a highlight in AAR's August traffic report.
“Despite the pandemic and the associated economic dislocations, an enormous amount of freight continues to move on railroads and other transportation modes,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “For U.S. railroads, August 2020 was the best month in terms of intermodal loadings since October 2018 and the fifth best intermodal month ever. Much of what’s inside the trailers and containers on an intermodal train ends up on the shelves of stores, or finds its way to consumers’ doors via e-commerce merchants. Railroads help ensure that consumers get what they want, when they want it.”
Year to date, the biggest decline in U.S. rail traffic over 2019 continues to be motor vehicles/parts and coal, down over 28% and 27% respectively. Meanwhile, two commodity categories tracked by AAR posted gains in August: grain, up 5.6 percent, and farm products excluding grain, up 5 percent.
Year to date through August 2020, U.S. carload traffic totaled 7,448,257 units, down 16 percent, and intermodal volume totaled 8,610,477 units, down 7.7 percent compared with the same period in 2019.