AAR reports mixed carload and intermodal volumes for January 2013

January carloads—at 1,339,604—were down 6.3 percent annually. Intermodal—at 1,168,630 trailers and containers—was up 5.3 percent compared to January 2012.

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The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported today that carload and intermodal volumes were mixed in January.

January carloads—at 1,339,604—were down 6.3 percent annually. Intermodal—at 1,168,630 trailers and containers—was up 5.3 percent compared to January 2012.

“The New Year brought a continuation of an old pattern; weakness in coal, strength in intermodal and petroleum products, and mixed results for everything else,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a statement. “Railroads recently announced that they expect to reinvest significantly in 2013—an estimated $24.5 billion for the year—back into their systems. They’re making these investments because they are confident that demand for freight transportation, over the long term, will continue to grow.” 

Of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR, six saw annual gains in January. Petroleum and petroleum products were up 54.1 percent, and crushed stone, sand and gravel were up 6.1 percent. Lumber and wood products were up 14.6 percent. Coal was down 14.5 percent, and grain was down 11 percent.

For the week ending February 2, U.S. carloads came in at 274,000, which was down 3.4 percent annually and ahead of the week ending January 26 at 265,839 and below the week ending January 19 at 277,490.

Eastern carload volumes were down 4.7 percent annually, and out west carloads were down 2.6 percent.

Intermodal volume—at 249,231 trailers and containers—was up 7.2 percent annually and ahead of the week ending January 26 at 238,789 and slightly below the week ending January 19 at 249,397.

For the first five weeks of 2013, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,339,604 carloads, down 6.3 percent from the same point last year, and 1,168,630 trailers and containers, up 5.3 percent from last year.


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Article Topics

AAR · Intermodal · Rail Freight · All Topics
Hub Group Resources
Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
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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