Rail Carloads Rebound from Covid-19

Rail Carloads Rebound from COVID-19

COVID-19 has had a big impact on everything including rail traffic. The good news is that: 
  • Intermodal traffic has rebounded far above pre-COVID-19 levels; and, 
  • Bulk rail traffic has finally risen to pre-COVID levels.  

The graph below shows that weekly Intermodal traffic is up 11% from January 2020. It also shows that Bulk rail traffic has finally risen 1% above pre-COVID-19 levels. 

RCC Blog: Percent Change in Weekly Rail Carloads for Intermodal vs Bulk Traffic

The graph below shows that, except for Coal and Petroleum, Bulk rail traffic has increased for major commodities. Both Coal and Petroleum have factors other than the economy influencing their decrease in carloads. The largest increase in Bulk carloads has been in Lumber & Wood Product 31.4%, Grain 30.3%, and Metal Products 20.3%. Chemicals and Sand & Gravel have only rebounded slightly from pre-COVID levels. 

The increase in rail carloads paints a positive picture of the US economy. The rise in carloads for both Bulk and Intermodal Traffic indicate that the economy has largely recovered from the negative impact of COVID-19. 

RCC Blog: Comparison of Weekly Rail Carloads for Major Bulk Commodities

Weekly Rail Carloads comes from the Rail Rate Checker section of the Rail Cost Control program’s extensive database of rail cost, rates, volumes, and rail profit which is used by many shippers to determine reasonable rates for their movements. For more information go to RailCostControl.com. 


Escalation Consultants, Inc. developed the Rail Cost Control (“RCC”) program to help shippers reduce rail expenses by managing costs and empowering negotiations. For more information about RCC and other related articles, visit the RCC Blog.

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