“Comparing rail traffic from one week to another must be done with caution because many different factors can come into play, especially in the winter when the weather can play a big role,” said Association of American Railroads Senior Vice President Policy and Economics John T. Gray as the AAR reported weekly traffic on March 11. “That said, rail intermodal loadings last week were down noticeably more than the norm over the past year. With the number of ships arriving at West Coast ports from Asia down sharply due to the coronavirus, it stands to reason that railroads are beginning to feel an impact too, at least in terms of intermodal. It’s impossible to quantify that impact with precision.”
Indeed. AAR reported U.S. rail traffic for the week ended March 7, 2020, and, for this week, total U.S. weekly rail traffic was 462,303 carloads and intermodal units, down 9.1% compared with the same week last year.