• ITVI.USA
    15,299.350
    -21.430
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    25.450
    -0.420
    -1.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,283.310
    -26.860
    -0.2%
  • TLT.USA
    2.670
    0.020
    0.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.160
    -0.030
    -1.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.440
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.160
    -0.090
    -2.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.900
    -0.030
    -1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.400
    -0.020
    -0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.820
    -0.010
    -0.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
  • ITVI.USA
    15,299.350
    -21.430
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    25.450
    -0.420
    -1.6%
  • OTVI.USA
    15,283.310
    -26.860
    -0.2%
  • TLT.USA
    2.670
    0.020
    0.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    2.160
    -0.030
    -1.4%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.440
    0.000
    0%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    3.160
    -0.090
    -2.8%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.900
    -0.030
    -1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.400
    -0.020
    -0.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    2.820
    -0.010
    -0.4%
  • WAIT.USA
    125.000
    -1.000
    -0.8%
IntermodalNewsRail

Weekly US intermodal traffic jumps 22%

US carloads rise 2.1%, find support from grain and coal

Sizable year-over-year gains for intermodal, coal and grain helped boost U.S. rail volumes last week.

Weekly U.S. rail traffic climbed 12.5% to 520,736 carloads and intermodal units for the week ending Saturday, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Of that, U.S. intermodal volumes jumped 22.4% to 290,052 containers and trailers, while U.S. carload volumes rose 2.1% to 230,684 carloads.

A breakdown of outbound international rail container volume and outbound domestic rail container volume. The blue lines represent 2020-21 and the purple lines represent 2019-20. (FreightWaves SONAR)

Notable gains for carloads came from grain, which rose 19.8% to 23,939 carloads, and coal, which climbed 15.8% to 64,102 carloads. Last week marked the second consecutive week that coal rose year-over-year.

Year-to-date, U.S. rail volumes are 2.7% higher, at 4.98 million carloads and intermodal units. A 9.9% increase in intermodal traffic has helped to offset a 4.6% decline in carloads.

U.S. carloads (blue: RTOTC.USA), intermodal trailers (red: RTOIT.CLASSI) and intermodal containers (green: RTOIC.CLASSI) over the past year. (FreightWaves SONAR)

The strength in U.S. intermodal volumes comes as the National Retail Federation (NRF) on Tuesday said retail sales in February gained considerably year-over-year amid increased vaccinations against COVID-19, reduced restrictions on businesses and the government stimulus.

NRF determined that retail sales rose by 7.1% on an unadjusted basis year-over-year. But between January and February, NRF calculated that retail sales slipped 3.4%. The sequential decrease was likely due to February’s severe winter storms that hit large swaths of the country.

In comparison, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that February retail sales were up 6.3% year-over-year but down 3% from January. 

The difference between NRF and the Census Bureau’s figures is that NRF figures exclude sales from automobile dealers, gasoline stations and restaurants. 

U.S. retail sales (blue: RESL.USA) compared with real personal disposable income on a monthly basis (red: RPDIM.USA). SONAR uses U.S. Census data for the retail sales figures. (FreightWaves SONAR)

Subscribe to FreightWaves’ e-newsletters and get the latest insights on freight right in your inbox.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Joanna Marsh.

Related articles:

Deutsche Bank on import bonanza: ‘You ain’t seen nothing yet’

Will intermodal’s cost advantage be enough to grow beyond 2021?

International intermodal traffic climbs amid import boom

Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *