AAR reports annual volume gains for week ending April 6
Carload volume—at 280,748—was up 3.7 percent annually, and intermodal—at 231,648 trailers and containers—was up 0.2 percent.
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The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported this week that United States carload and intermodal volumes were both up for the week ending April 6.
Carload volume—at 280,748—was up 3.7 percent annually and slightly below the week ending March 30, which came in at 281,367 and ahead of the week ending March 23 at 278,738. And intermodal—at 231,648 trailers and containers—was up 0.2 percent compared to the same week a year ago, which topped the 233,587 recorded for the week ending March 30 and was ahead of the week ending March 23 at 228,806.
Total weekly traffic for carloads and intermodal units—at 512,396—was up 2.1 percent annually.
The AAR recently changed how it reports weekly commodity loadings. Its former process was comprised of 20 distinct commodity groups, which have now been grouped together.
The new commodity categories are: chemicals; coal; farm and food products, excluding grain (which includes farm products, excluding grain, grain mill products and food & kindred products); forest products; grain; metallic ores and metals (which also includes metallic ores, coke, metals & products, iron & steel scrap); motor vehicles and parts (which also includes motor vehicles and equipment); nonmetallic minerals and products (which also includes crushed stone, sand, and gravel; nonmetallic minerals; stone, clay & glass products); petroleum and petroleum products); and other (which includes waste and nonferrous scrap and all other carloads).
For the week ending April 6, eight of the ten commodity groups showed gains, including petroleum and petroleum products up 52.9 percent and nonmetallic minerals and products up 10.9 percent. Grain was down 14.2 percent.
On a year-to-date basis, carloads are down 2.5 percent at 3,851,622 and intermodal is up 5 percent at 3,316,564 containers and trailers.
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Transportation of freight in containers was first recorded around 1780 to move coal along England’s Bridgewater Canal. However, "modern" intermodal rail service by a major U.S. railroad only dates back to 1936. Malcom McLean’s Sea-Land Service significantly advanced intermodalism, showing how freight could be loaded into a “container” and moved by two or more modes economically and conveniently. As with all new technologies, there were problems that slowed the growth, which influenced many potential customers to shy away from moving intermodal.
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