Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


AAR reports January volumes are up year-over-year

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
February 10, 2011

Rail volumes in January were up compared to the same period in 2010, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Rail carloads for January—at 1,142,293—were up 8 percent year-over-year. The weekly January average of 285,573 carloads was up 8 percent year-over-year and up 9 percent over January 2009, but it represents the lowest January average since 1994, said the AAR. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, carloads were up 7.4 percent from December.

Intermodal volumes in January came in at 863,099 trailers and containers for a 7.4 percent increase over January 2010. The weekly intermodal average for January was 215,775 for a 7.1 percent annual gain and up 10.1 percent over January 2009. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, January intermodal volumes were up 1.8 percent from December.

The AAR has noted in the past that domestic intermodal traffic in particular continues to see strong growth due to conversions of over-the-road domestic traffic to rail and growth in international trade. The AAR also said it reflects a years-long trend of domestic freight converting from truck trailers to containers on rail; truck containers can be double-stacked, which makes them more cost-efficient and effective.

It also noted that growth in intermodal traffic is a function of both a growing economy and growing international trade.

“Steady growth is good news for railroads and the economy, but there is still more ground to cover before we return to pre-recession levels,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Rail is vital to connecting business to the marketplace, and the gradual gain in intermodal traffic as well as carloads shows how broad U.S. economic recovery may be.”

While railroad activity is clearly picking up, it is still lagging 2008 and earlier years on an absolute volume basis. And based on various economic indicators it is clear it will be a while more until rail volumes return to the same levels as previous years. Industry experts have told LM that rail traffic is in fact stronger than the macroeconomic, business, and general news headlines would suggest.

Of the 19 major commodities tracked by the AAR, 15 were up on an annual basis in January. Metallic ores were up 63 percent, primary metal products were up 21 percent, crushed stone, gravel, and sand were up 16.2 percent. Coal was up 8.8 percent.

Railroad employee numbers fell by 642 to 154,400 employees in November (the most recent month for which data is available).

For more articles on railroad shipping, click here.

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

Having introduced into the California State Senate a new bill designed to give an exemption from sales and use tax for port terminal operators purchasing zero or “near zero-emission” equipment, Lara is trying to advance two agendas.

The notions of “green shoots” or “cautious optimism” in gauging the current state of the economy does not specifically exhibit what is really happening, when assessing how things are actually going, it seems. That was made clear by Bob Costello, chief economist at the American Trucking Associations, at last week’s NASSTRAC (National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council) Shippers Conference and Transportation Expo in Orlando, Fla. last week.

With a 6.8 cent gain to $2.266 per gallon, this week’s average diesel price is at its highest level since the week of December 28, when it was at $2.237 per gallon.

Manufacturing activity in April remained on the right side of growth for the second straight month, following six months of contraction, according to the April edition of the Manufacturing Report on Business from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

Some 22 centuries after the original Silk Road smoothed the path of Chinese silk merchants to Europe, a new effort is beginning to build a new 21st century highway between Europe and the burgeoning economy of China, now the world’s fastest-growing market.

Comments

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


© Copyright 2016 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA