AAR reports January volumes are up year-over-year

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

By ·

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, 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. Contact Jeff Berman

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!

Latest Whitepaper
Reduce Order Processing Costs by 80%
Sales order automation software will seamlessly transform inbound emailed and printed purchase orders into electronic sales orders that can be automatically processed into your ERP system with 100% accuracy.
Download Today!
From the June 2016 Issue
In the wildly unstable ocean cargo carrier arena, three major consortia are fighting for market share, with some players simply hanging on for survival. Meanwhile, shippers may expect deployment shifts as a consequence of the Panama Canal expansion.
WMS Update: What do we need to run a WMS?
Supply Chain Software Convergence: Synchronization Realized
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Optimizing Global Transportation: How NVOCCs Can Use Technology to Operate More Profitably
Global transportation isn't getting any easier to manage, especially for non-vessel operating common carriers (NVOCCs). Faced with uncertainties like surcharges—but needing to remain competitive when bidding against other providers—NVOCCs need the right mix of historical data, data intelligence, and technology support to make quick and effective decisions. During this webcast you'll learn how Bolloré Transport & Logistics was able to streamline its global logistics and automate contract management.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Top 50 U.S. and Global 3PLs 2016: Technology Now the Key Differentiator
Following last year’s merger and acquisition frenzy, the speed of technology implementation by the...
Digital Reality Check
Just how close are we to the ideal digital supply network? Not as close as we might like to think....

Top 25 ports: West Coast continues to dominate
The Panama Canal expansion is set for late June and may soon be attracting more inbound vessel calls...
Port of Oakland launches smart phone apps for harbor truckers
Innovation uses Bluetooth, GPS to measure how long drivers wait for cargo