From the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Rail Time Indicators. Graphs and excerpts reprinted with permission.
Total originated carloads on U.S. railroads were down 0.2% in June 2023 from June 2022, their
first decline in three months. Total carloads in 2023 through June (5.84 million) were up 0.6% (32,547(
carloads) over the same period in 2022 and were the highest since 2019.
U.S. intermodal volumes fell again in June — their 7.0% decline from June 2022 was their 16th
straight. That said, U.S. railroads originated an average of 247,192 containers and trailers per week in
June 2023, the most since October 2022.
Click on graph for larger image.
This graph from the Rail Time Indicators report shows the six-week average of U.S. Carloads in 2021, 2022 and 2022:
Total originated carloads (which don’t include
intermodal) on U.S. railroads in June 2023 were down
0.2% from June 2022, their first decline in three months. In
June, 11 of the 20 carload categories we track had
carload gains … Total carloads averaged 225,849 per week in June 2023.
Except for December 2022, weekly average total carloads have fluctuated within a relatively narrow band
for the past year.
The second graph shows the six-week average (not monthly) of U.S. intermodal in 2021, 2022 and 2023: (using intermodal or shipping containers):
U.S. intermodal was down 10.3% in Q2 2023 from
Q2 2022 (their eighth straight quarterly decline) and also
down 10.3% (698,375 units) for the year to date. Volume
was 6.11 million units in the first six months of 2023, the
fewest for the first six months of a year since 2013.
Intermodal’s decline is a function of a number of factors, including reduced consumer spending on goods, sharply lower port activity, a lack of
inventory growth at retailers, and lower truck rates that are making all-truck movements more price competitive vis-à-vis rail intermodal movements.