Daily container volume BNSF Eastbound Intermodal December 2023 to May 2024 and 7-day moving average

RailState, the rail industry’s only provider of real-time rail network visibility, independently tracks freight rail movements across North America in real-time. 

This report covers train and intermodal container movements on Union Pacific and BNSF railways in the southwest United States.

May was the strongest month for eastbound container movements since RailState’s network began coverage of the US Southwest in late summer 2023. BNSF and UP moved 248,804 containers combined, an increase of 11.4% over April. 

Note: RailState’s network coverage of this region is more recent and does not include earlier historical data.

BNSF

In May, BNSF moved 156,480 containers eastbound, up from 137,743 in April. BNSF carried more containers in May by running more trains 22.9 trains per day, up from 21 per day in April and carrying slightly more containers per train 220 containers per train, up from 219.

BNSF Container Movement by Month and daily average container volume October 2023 to May 2024

Compared to UP (below), daily container movements on BNSF have increased slightly throughout May. At the beginning of the month, the 7-day moving average was 4,764 containers per day and rose to 4,882 at the end of the month.

Daily container volume BNSF Eastbound Intermodal December 2023 to May 2024 and 7-day moving average

Other Train Movements

BNSF moved an average of 30.4 trains per day eastbound in May, up nearly 2 trains per day compared to April (28.3 trains per day). Intermodal trains made up 75.4% of eastbound traffic through Arizona in May.

BNSF Eastbound By Train Type May 2024

In May, BNSF moved slightly more trains per day westbound compared to the eastbound direction (30.5 WB v. 30.4 EB). Intermodal makes up a slightly larger percentage of trains moving westbound on BNSF, 77.1% compared to 75.4% in the eastbound direction.

BNSF westbound By Train Type May 2024

 

Union Pacific

Union Pacific moved 92,324 containers eastbound through southern California in May, evenly split between international and domestic containers. This is the highest volume of containers RailState has captured on UP since RailState’s network coverage expanded to the region in 2023.

Despite operating slightly fewer trains per day in May (8.0 compared to 8.13 in April), each train held approximately 21 more containers per train during the month.

UP Container Movement by Month and daily average container volume October 2023 to May 2024

The consistent growth in container volumes to start the year has coincided with significant day-to-day variability. There have been days with fewer than 1,000 containers moving eastbound and days with more than 4,500 containers.

Daily Container Movements Intermodal Union Pacific California Eastbound May 2024

Other Train Movements

In May, daily train volume on Union Pacific eastbound through southern California averaged 13.7 trains per day, down slightly from 13.9 trains per day in April. Intermodal accounted for 57.7% of train volume in May, and Manifest trains accounted for 31.7% of eastbound traffic.

Union Pacific UP Eastbound By Train Type May 2024

Train volumes heading westbound on UP were greater than the eastbound volumes, averaging 14.3 trains per day. Intermodal accounted for 63.4% of trains and manifest represented 35.3%.

Union Pacific UP Westbound By Train Type May 2024

For additional information about this report or to receive other updates from RailState, please reach out to contact@railstate.com or subscribe to our blog.

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