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AAR: November Rail Carloads Down Compared to 2019; Intermodal Up Slightly

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by Calculated Risk on 12/03/2021 12:21:00 PM

From the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Rail Time Indicators. Graphs and excerpts reprinted with permission.

U.S. railroads originated 917,787 total carloads in November 2021, up 2.0% over November 2020
and down 3.9% from November 2019. The 2.0% gain in November was the ninth straight gain, but it was
also the smallest percentage gain in those nine months.

U.S. railroads originated 1.03 million intermodal containers and trailers in November, down 9.6%
from November 2020 and up 0.8% over November 2019. November 2021 was the fourth straight month
in which intermodal volume fell, and the 9.6% decline was the biggest decline in those four months. In
2021, September, October, and November were all in the bottom half of months in terms of intermodal
volume, something that has never happened before in our records that go back to 1989.
emphasis added

Click on graph for larger image.

This graph from the Rail Time Indicators report shows the six week average of U.S. Carloads in 2019, 2020 and 2021:

U.S. railroads originated 917,787 total carloads in
November 2021, up 2.0% over November 2020 and down
3.9% from November 2019. Total carloads averaged
229,447 per week in November 2021, the third lowest
weekly average for total carloads so far this year. (In part
because of Thanksgiving, November is usually in the
bottom half of all months in terms of total carloads.)

The second graph shows the six week average (not monthly) of U.S. intermodal in 2019, 2020 and 2021: (using intermodal or shipping containers):

Intermodal is not included in carload figures. In
November 2021, U.S. railroads originated 1.03 million
containers and trailers, down 9.6% from November 2020
and up 0.8% over November 2019. November 2021 was
the fourth straight month in which year-over-year
intermodal volume fell; November’s 9.6% decline is the
biggest decline in those four months. Intermodal volume
averaged 257,010 units per week in November; only
February (253,999) was lower so this year.

November Employment Report: 210 thousand Jobs, 4.2% Unemployment Rate

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