AAR reports annual U.S. carload and intermodal volume gains in March

Rail carloads increased 3.6%, or 36,157 carloads, to 1,050,653, and intermodal containers and trailers headed up 5%, or 102,308 units, in March compared to the same period a year ago at 2,132,892.

By ·

Both United States rail carload and intermodal volumes saw annual gains in March, according to data issued this week by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Rail carloads increased 3.6%, or 36,157 carloads, to 1,050,653 on an annual basis in March. And ten of the 20 carload commodity groups tracked by the AAR saw gains, including: coal, up 24,867 carloads or 7.9%; chemicals, up 7,492 carloads or 5.9%; and crushed stone, sand & gravel, up 7,124 carloads or 8%. And commodities with annual declines in March included: nonmetallic minerals, down 3,563 carloads or 19.5%; motor vehicles & parts, down 2,257 carloads or 3.2%; and coke, down 1,423 carloads or 8.1%.

When excluding coal, AAR said carloads were up 1.6% and when excluding coal and grain, it said carloads were up 1.8%.

Intermodal containers and trailers headed up 5%, or 102,308 units, in March compared to the same period a year ago at 2,132,892.

“Railroads are a derived-demand industry,” said AAR Senior Vice President of Policy and Economics John T. Gray in a statement. “Their level of business depends to a large degree on what’s happening elsewhere in the economy. There’s always some economic uncertainty — today that involves, among other things, trade relations, commodity prices, and what the Fed will do about interest rates — but economic signals today are mostly positive. Rail traffic in March was largely positive too, at least in terms of traffic segments that are most sensitive to what’s going on in the economy.”

On a year-to-date basis through March, AAR said U.S. rail carloads are down 0.3%, or 9,027 carloads, annually at 3,296,199, and intermodal units are up 5.5%, or 181,304 units, at 3,496,381.

For the week ending March 31, U.S. carloads are up 2.8% at 265,470, and intermodal units are also up 2.8% at 269,281. 

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.

Article Topics

All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Is It Time For a New Network Strategy?
A successful supply chain network design gives companies a competitive advantage, pinpoints ways to significantly reduce costs, improves service levels, reduces overall cycle times, streamlines all processes and systems used, and more.
Download Today!
From the May 2019 Logistics Management Magazine
May is our Technology Issue, and we’ve devoted the majority of our pages this month to the evolution of the technology toolbox that’s now within our grasp.
The Digital Supply Chain Takes Shape
Top 30 U.S. Ports 2019: Trade tensions determine where cargo goes next
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Technology Roundtable: Are you ready for what’s next?
In this webcast LM's group editorial director Michael Levans gathers four top supply chain management technology analysts to discuss how some of the hottest software and technologies is helping logistics and supply chain management professionals streamline their operations to meet the pressing demands of digital commerce and manage through the tightest labor market in a generation.
Register Today!
35th Annual Salary Survey: Compensation matters more than ever
While job satisfaction remains the primary reason for today’s logistics managers to stay with one...
2019 Rate Outlook: Pressure Builds
In 2019, the world economy will enter a third straight year of broad-based growth, but many...

2019 Transportation Management Systems (TMS) Market Update: Keeping pace with the times
The transportation management systems market is growing right along with the number of challenges...
The Logistics News that Shaped 2018
Every year at this time, group news editor Jeff Berman combs through the mountain of news that was...