AAR reports mixed volumes for week ending May 5
Carload volume—at 276,136—was down 2 percent annually, and intermodal volumes—at 239,031 trailers and containers—were up 3 percent annually.
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Rail carload and intermodal volumes were again mixed for the week ending May 5, according to data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Carload volume—at 276,136—was down 2 percent annually and behind the week ending April 28 at 283,080 and the week ending April 21 at 282,262.
Compared to last year, eastern carloads were up down 1.7 percent, and out west carloads were down 2.3 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 239,031 trailers and containers—were up 3 percent annually and below the week ending April 28 at 242,365 and slightly below the week ending Apri;l 21 at 239,276.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 14 were up annually. Petroleum products were up 47 percent, and motor vehicles and equipment were up 31.2 percent.
Coal was down 10.1 percent, and grain was down 22.7 percent.
Carloads for the first 18 weeks of 2012—at 5,068,331—were down 3.2 percent compared to the first 18 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 2.8 percent at 3,633,031 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week at 31.5 billion were down 0.9 percent, and for the year-to-date it is down 2.4 percent at 576.7 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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