AAR reports mixed carload and intermodal volumes for week ending April 20
Carload volume—at 276,662—was down 2 percent annually, and intermodal—at 240,698 trailers and containers—was up 0.6 percent.
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The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported this week that United States carload and intermodal volumes were mixed for the week ending April 20.
Carload volume—at 276,662—was down 2 percent annually and ahead of the week ending April 13 at 275,675 and below the week ending April 6 at 280,748. Intermodal—at 240,698 trailers and containers—was up 0.6 percent compared to the same week a year ago, and was below the week ending April 13 at 241,987 and ahead of the week ending April 6 at 231,648.
Total weekly traffic for carloads and intermodal units—at 517,360—was down 0.8 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 20, four of the ten commodity groups showed gains, including petroleum and petroleum products up 40.1 percent. Grain fell 21.8 percent.
On a year-to-date basis, carloads are down 2.3 percent at 4,403,958 and intermodal is up 4.6 percent at 3,799,366 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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