AAR reports mixed volumes for week ending March 9
Carload volume—at 276,698—was down 0.9 percent, and intermodal—at 235,174 containers and trailers—was up 4 percent annually.
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The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported this week that United States carload and intermodal volumes were once again mixed for the week ending March 9.
Carload volume—at 276,698—was down 0.9 percent, which was below the week ending March 2 at 283,819 and the week ending February 23 at 278,059.
Intermodal—at 235,174 containers and trailers—was up 4 percent annually and below the week ending March 2 at 249,238 and the week ending February 23 at 238,083.
Total weekly traffic for carloads and intermodal units—at 511,872—was up 1.3 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 March 9, four of the ten commodity groups showed gains, including petroleum products up 46.5 percent. Grain was down 16.5 percent.
On a year-to-date basis, carloads are down 3.7 percent at 2,730,145 and intermodal is up 7.2 percent at 2,386,882 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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