AAR reports mixed U.S. carload and intermodal volumes for week ending November 18
Rail carloads were off 1.6% annually at 266,927, and intermodal containers and trailers headed up 3.9% to 287,139.
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Rail carloads were off 1.6% annually at 266,927, which topped the week ending November 11 at 263,265, and the week ending November 4 at 266,652.
AAR said that four of the 10 carload commodity groups it tracks posted annual gains, including: metallic ores and metals, up 4,537 carloads, to 23,696; nonmetallic minerals, up 3,675 carloads, to 38,355; and chemicals, up 1,334 carloads, to 31,939. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 included coal, down 8,528 carloads, to 86,185; grain, down 3,841 carloads, to 21,926; and petroleum and petroleum products, down 887 carloads, to 10,184.
Intermodal containers and trailers headed up 3.9% to 287,139, which was ahead of the 284,215 recorded for the week ending November 11 and the 272,097 recorded for the week ending November 4.
On a year to date basis through the first 46 weeks of 2017, U.S. carloads are up 3% annually at 11,969,281, and intermodal units are up 3.7% annually at 12,420,150.
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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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