AAR reports mixed volumes for week ending March 10
Carload volume-at 278,728-was down 4.8 percent annually, and intermodal-at 226,039 trailers and containers—was up 4.2 percent annually.
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Rail volumes were mixed for the week ending March 10, according to data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Carload volume—at 278,728—was down 4.8 percent annually and below the week ending March 3 at 283,312 and the week ending February 25 at 281,644 and the week ending February 18 at 281,989.
Eastern carloads were down 3.8 percent, and out west carloads were down 5.4 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 226,039 trailers and containers—were up 4.2 percent annually. This was down compared to the week ending March 3 at 227,256 and ahead of the week ending February 25 at 214,402. The week ending February 18 hit 221,003.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 11 were up annually. Petroleum products were up 39.9 percent, and motor vehicles and equipment were up 14.8 percent. Coal and grain were down 13.1 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively.
Carloads for the first ten weeks of 2012—at 2,834,520—were down 1.4 percent compared to the first ten weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 2.3 percent at 2,226,134 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week at 31.8 billion were down 3.9 percent, and for the year-to-date it was down 0.5 percent at 322.6 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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