Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


AAR May carload and intermodal data is up and down

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
June 09, 2011

Railroad carload traffic in May was flat year-over-year with a 0.5 percent annual gain, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Intermodal saw steady gains compared to last year.

“For the second month in a row, rail intermodal traffic was great, while carload traffic left something to be desired,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray, in a statement.  “Like other national indicators, rail traffic reflects a degree of uncertainty regarding the direction of the economy.  Railroads join everyone else in hoping current trends are just a bump in the road rather than a portent of things to come.”

Total May carloads came in at 1,159,328, and the weekly carload average in May was 289,932 per week compared to 294,319 in April.

Intermodal activity continued its hectic pace with a 7.5 percent annual increase at 932,956 trailers and containers. The AAR said that on a seasonally-adjusted basis, May carloads were flat and intermodal was up 0.8 percent compared to April.

What’s more, the AAR said intermodal’s weekly average in May at 233,239 was the second highest May tally ever recorded by the AAR, explaining that the difference between May 206 and May 2011 of 277 containers and trailers per week equates to about what a double-sized container train carries. And had one more weekly intermodal train per week moved, May 2011 would have been the highest week month ever recorded for intermodal traffic, said the AAR.

“We are more and more convinced that the domestic intermodal product led by container growth is a growth story being driven by shipper demand amidst capacity concerns,” said

Tony Hatch, principal of New York-based ABH Consulting.  “And driver shortages, regulatory issues, and oil prices and carbon are more entrenched a year later—it is an exciting product and it is going to grow10 percent or so and as we get to Peak Season we will see that capacity used up and even potentially face shortage issues again. It is healthy growth for an economy growing at a fraction of that.”

Intermodal is continuing its strong run for a variety of factors, according to industry experts, including supply capacity, which remains tight in the trucking market and lowering supply chain expenses at a time when fuel costs remain high, among others.

Of the 20 major commodities tracked by the AAR, 8 were up year-over-year. Metallic ores were up 17.6 percent, and grain was up 16.3 percent.  Coal was down 1.8 percent.

Railroad employee numbers increased by 935 to 156,777 employees in April from March (the most recent month for which data is available).

And as of June 1, the AAR said that 279,083 freight cars—or 18.4 percent of the total fleet—were in storage, a decrease of 2,855 cars from May 1.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

While shippers ready themselves for the long Labor Day weekend, we’d like to remind them that new security and compliance regulations are - as always – looming ahead.

United States Class I carloads were down 56,104 carloads–or 4.6 percent annually–at 1,115,957 in August, and intermodal containers and trailers were up 3.6 percent--or 38,617 units- at 1,114,370.

A new report from Chicago-based freight transportation and logistics consultancy CarrierDirect released this week examines current freight market conditions and what logistics and supply chain stakeholders need to do and know in order to stay one step ahead of the competition.

You’ve heard the old saying, it was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Rob Handfield sees this as the best of times for procurement professionals, who have an opportunity to deliver real value to their organizations

While core metrics were down from a very impressive July, the August edition of the Non-Manufacturing Report on Business from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) was still very strong.

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA