The Traffic World Washington Bureau
Of the 39,913,296 cars of revenue freight loaded in 1921, 32.8 per cent was miscellaneous freight, 27.7 per cent was merchandise, LCL, 20.4 per cent was coal, 6.3 per cent was forest products, 5.8 per cent was grain and grain products, 3.8 per cent was live stock, 2.3 per cent was ore and 0.8 per cent was coke, according to an analysis, accompanied by charts, made by the car service division of the American Railway Association.
Of the 45,864,309 cars loaded in 1920, 36.6 per cent was miscellaneous freight, 19.9 per cent was merchandise, LCL, 22.4 per cent was coal, 6.8 per cent was forest products, 4.1 per cent was grain and grain products, 3.5 per cent was live stock, 5.3 per cent was ore and 1.4 per cent was coke.
Of the 41,684,052 cars loaded in 1919, 57.8 per cent was merchandise, LCL, and miscellaneous (no separation of merchandise, LCL, and miscellaneous loading having been made), 21.4 per cent was coal and coke (no separation of coal and coke having been made), 7.1 per cent was forest products, 4.7 per cent was ore, 4.9 per cent was grain and grain products and 4.1 per cent was live stock.
Discussing the analysis, the division said: “The outstanding feature of the performance of the last year is a relatively extraordinary increase in the loading of merchandise and LCL, and miscellaneous commodities combined, and the marked decline in the raw materials entering into manufacture — coal, coke, ore and forest products. Simultaneously, in 1921, there was a heavy increase in grain and grain products loading and a smaller increase in the loading of live stock, but in the latter case, this was not sufficient to bring the figure up to the percentage of all loading in 1919.”
— Jan. 28, 1922, Vol. XXIX, No. 4
Note that in 1921 less-than-carload merchandise and miscellaneous loadings represented 60.5% of rail freight while bulk commodities such as coal, grains and forest products accounted for 39.5%. That LCL freight increasingly would become “less-than-truckload” freight as the trucking industry and national highway network expanded.