From the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Rail Time Indicators. Graphs and excerpts reprinted with permission.
As is usually the case, in September some rail sectors did better than others. There were clearly
some good signs.
For example, U.S. intermodal originations in September 2023 averaged 252,224 containers and
trailers per week, the most for any month since October 2022. August, September, and October are
typically the highest-volume U.S. intermodal months, reflecting “peak season” shipments ahead of the
holidays. In September, intermodal originations were up 0.7% over last year, just their second increase
in 26 months. …
Total carloads on U.S. railroads in September 2023 were up 2.3% over September 2022, their first
increase in four months and their biggest percentage gain since January 2023. Total carloads averaged
230,429 per week in September 2023, the most since October 2022. Year-to-date total carloads were
up 0.3% over 2022 and up 0.7% over 2021
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:
U.S. railroads originated 921,716 total carloads in
September 2023, up 2.3% (20,754 carloads) over
September 2022. That’s the first year-over-year increase
for total carloads in four months and the biggest
percentage increase since January 2023. Total carloads
averaged 230,429 per week in September 2023, the most
since October 2022. Intermodal isn’t included in carloads.
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 originations were up 0.7% in
September 2023 over September 2022. That’s just the
second year-over-year increase for intermodal since July
2021, a span of 26 months. (The other increase, in
February 2022 over February 2021, shouldn’t count
because it was a function of severe ice storms in
February 2021 that caused an easy comparison when
February 2022 came along.) U.S. intermodal volume in
September 2023 averaged 252,224 containers and trailers
per week, the most for any month since October 2022.