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AAR reports carload and intermodal volumes up slightly for week ending November 6

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
November 12, 2010

Railroad volumes for the week ending November were up year-over-year, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carload volume at 288,056 was up 4.9 percent compared to the same week last year but down compared to the three previous weeks at 292,884, 302,855, and 303,664, respectively.

Carload volume in the East was down 0.1 percent year-over-year. Out West, carloads were up 8.4 percent year-over-year.

While LM has reported that railroad volumes are in recovery mode compared to a difficult 2009, current volumes are still below peak levels, and annual gains occurring in 2010 are against a 2009 which has been described as the worst year for railroad traffic since deregulation, according to industry analysts.

Intermodal volumes continued steady growth patterns at 231,078 trailers and containers for an 11.7 percent gain. But even though intermodal is showing strong annual gains, volumes are down on a sequential basis, with the week ending November 6 down compared to the three previous weeks at 232,717, 235,606, and 232,272, respectively. The high intermodal mark for 2010 to date is the week ending September 25 at 241,167.

Container volume at 195,577 was up 12.4 percent, and trailer volume at 35,501 was up 7.7 percent.

Shippers are turning to intermodal more as a cost-effective and efficient alternative to trucking, according to intermodal marketing company executives. And as volumes increase, railroads and IMC’s need to focus on maintaining high service levels for
shippers, they said.

Domestic intermodal volumes on the container side are continuing to outpace the overall economic recovery in conjunction with intermodal shipments gaining share over other modes of freight transportation, according to a recent report by the Intermodal Association of North America.

Of the 19 carload commodities tracked by the AAR, 13 were up year-over-year. Metallic ores were up 45.8 percent, and metals and products up 31.1 percent, and crushed stone, sand, and gravel up percent.

Year-to-date, total U.S. carload volumes at 12,612,717 carloads are up 7.3 percent year-over-year. Trailers or containers at 9,595,559 are up 14.6 percent year-over-year.

Estimated ton-miles for the week ending November 6 came in at 32.9 billion for a 6.5 percent annual gain. Total volume year-to-date at 1,393.4 billion ton-miles was up 8.4 percent year-over-year.

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).

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