AAR reports mixed volumes for week ending October 27
Carload volume—at 287,104—was down 7 percent annually, and intermodal volumes—at 253,186 trailers and containers—were up 3.9 percent.
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Rail and intermodal traffic was again mixed for the week ending October 27, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Carload volume—at 287,104—was down 7 percent annually and below the week ending October 20 at 288,791 and ahead of the week ending October 13 at 285,089.
Eastern carload volumes were down 5.7 percent annually, and out west carloads were down 7.8 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 253,186 trailers and containers—were up 3.9 percent and slightly below the week ending October 20 at 253,883 and ahead of the week ending October 13 at 250,826.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, nine were up annually. Farm products excluding grain were up 72 percent, and petroleum products were up 52.7 percent. Iron and steel scrap was down 32.8 percent, and coal was down 15.2 percent.
Carloads for the first 43 weeks of 2012—at 12,186,829—were down 2.9 percent compared to the first 43 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 3.7 percent at 10,220,272 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week ending October 20 were down 6.4 percent at 33.7 billion, and were down 2.7 percent on a year-to-date basis at 1,401.2 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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