AAR reports mixed volumes for week ending January 12
Carload volume—at 279,893—was down 6.4 percent, and intermodal—at 252,896 trailers and containers—was down 6.4 percent.
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The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported this week that carload and intermodal volumes were mixed for the week ending January 12.
Carload volume—at 279,893—was down 6.4 percent, ahead of the week ending January 5 at 241,682 and the week ending December 29 at 211,921.
Eastern carload volumes were down 3.6 percent annually, and out west carloads were down 8.1 percent.
Intermodal volume—at 252,896 trailers and containers—was down 6.4 percent. This was well ahead of the week ending January 5 at 178,317 and the week ending December 29 at 155,800.
AAR officials said that weekly traffic volume for the week ending January 5 “was likely impacted by the New Year’s holiday, which fell on a Monday and Tuesday in 2013, as opposed to Saturday and Sunday in 2012.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 13 were up annually. Petroleum products were up 47.7 percent, and lumber and wood products were up 15.5 percent.
Iron, steel and scrap loadings were down 29.3 percent, and motor vehicles and equipment were down 22.1 percent. Coal was down 16 percent.
On a year-to-date basis, carloads are down 9.1 percent at 521,575, and intermodal is up 1.9 percent at 431,213 containers and trailers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week ending January 12 were down 6.1 percent at 28.1 billion and down 8.7 percent at 60.7 year-to-date.
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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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