AAR reports mixed volumes for week ending July 21
Carload volume—at 286,254—was down 1.9 percent annually, and intermodal volumes—at 246,475 trailers and containers—were up 6.2 percent compared to the same week last year.
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Rail carload and intermodal volumes were mixed for the week ending July 21, according to data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Carload volume—at 286,254—was down 1.9 percent annually and ahead of the week ending July 14 at 286,156 and the week ending July 7 at 243,156. Eastern carloads were down 5.2 percent annually, and out west carloads were up 0.3 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 246,475 trailers and containers—were up 6.2 percent compared to the same week last year and were above the week ending July 14 at 245,915 and the week ending July 7 at 203,362.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, seven were up annually. Petroleum products were up 50.1 percent, and food and kindred products were up 13.8 percent. Iron and steel scrap was down 24.2 percent, and grain dropped 16.9 percent.
Carloads for the first 29 weeks of 2012—at 8,140,384—were down 2.6 percent compared to the first 29 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 3.6 percent at 6,745,482 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week ending July 21 were down 1.2 percent at 33.2 billion, and were down 1.8 percent on a year-to-date basis at 928.5 billion.
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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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