AAR reports mixed volumes for week ending October 20

Carload volume—at 288,791—was down 4.4 percent annually, and intermodal volumes—at 253,883 trailers and containers—were up 3.5 percent annually.

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The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported today that rail and intermodal traffic was mixed for the week ending October 20.

Carload volume—at 288,791—was down 4.4 percent annually and ahead of the week ending October 13 at 285,089—and ahead of the week ending October 6 at 283,440 and behind the week ending September 29 at 295,243.

Eastern carloads were down 6 percent annually, and out west carloads were down 3.4 percent.

Intermodal volumes—at 253,883 trailers and containers—were up 3.5 percent annually and ahead of the week ending October 13 at 250,826 and the week ending October 6 at 251,113 and below the week ending September 29 at 257,225, which currently stands as the single highest weekly intermodal tally of 2012 and the third highest volume week for intermodal ever recorded by the AAR.

At this month’s Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Annual Conference in Atlanta many shippers told LM that intermodal continues to be a “go to” mode in light of increasing diesel prices, regulations being enforced for motor carriers, and cost savings in exchange for longer transit times.

Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, seven were up annually. Farm products excluding grain were up 87 percent, and petroleum products were up 60.5 percent. Iron and steel scrap was down 25.5 percent, and coal was down 13.9 percent. 

Carloads for the first 42 weeks of 2012—at 11,899,725—were down 2.8 percent compared to the first 42 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 3.7 percent at 9,967,086 trailers and containers.

Estimated ton-miles for the week ending October 13 were down 4.0 percent at 33.9 billion, and were down 1.9 percent on a year-to-date basis at 1,367.5 billion.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

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Article Topics

AAR · Intermodal · Railroad · All Topics
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Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
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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