Freight Railroad Revenues to Bounce Back in 2021, Expand 4.7% Annually to 2025


Cleveland, OH, July 29, 2021  — US rail freight revenues are forecast to advance 4.7% per year in nominal terms through 2025, according to Freight by Rail: United States, a report recently released by Freedonia Focus Reports. Continuing expansion in manufacturers’ shipments and growth in US trade activity will drive demand for rail freight transportation. In addition, output of chemicals and allied products, one of the most profitable railroad cargos and a leading product shipped by rail, is projected to rise 1.0% annually in real terms to 2025. Production of motor vehicles in volume terms, another high-profit cargo item for rail carriers, is projected to increase 4.7% to 2025. However, faster gains will be prevented by falling volumes of coal handled, which will decline 1.7% through 2025.

US revenues for rail transportation support activities are forecast rise 5.9% per year to 2025. Ongoing gains in rail freight activity will boost demand for support services. Furthermore, regulations will continue to drive outsourcing to support providers, such as those ensuring PTC compliance.

These and other key insights are featured in Freight by Rail: United States. This report forecasts to 2021 and 2025 US freight railroad revenue in nominal US dollars as well as volume hauled in ton-miles. A ton-mile represents one ton of freight carried one mile. Total revenue and volume are segmented by carrier type in terms of:

  • Class I railroads
  • other freight railroads such as short line and regional railroads

To illustrate historical trends, total revenues, total volume, the various segments, and trade are provided in annual series from 2010 to 2020.

Revenues for railroad freight support activities are also forecast to 2021 and 2025, and provided for the 2010-2020 historical period.

Total revenues for the US freight transport industry for the 2010-2020 period are also provided and segmented by mode in terms of truck, rail, pipeline, water, and air.

Passenger trains are outside the scope of this report.

More information about the report is available at: