AAR reports mixed volumes for week ending September 15
Carload volume—at 291,350—was down 2.9 percent annually, and intermodal—at 251,720 trailers and containers—were up 3.9 percent.
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Rail carload and intermodal volumes were once again mixed for the week ending September 15, according to data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Carload volume—at 291,350—was down 2.9 percent annually and ahead of the week ending September 8 at 272,301 and below the week ending September 1 at 292,732.
Eastern carloads were down 5.3 percent annually, and out west carloads were down 1.4 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 251,720 trailers and containers—were up 3.9 percent compared to the same week last year and ahead of the week ending September 8 at 214,517 and the week ending September 1 at 249,113.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, nine were up annually. Petroleum products were up 46.3 percent, and farm crushed stone, sand and gravel were up 10.8 percent. Farm products excluding grain were down 22.7 percent, and metallic ores were down 21.3 percent.
Carloads for the first 37 weeks of 2012—at 10,454,518—were down 5.3 percent compared to the first 37 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 3.7 percent at 8,693,030 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week ending September 15 were down 1.7 percent at 34.2 billion, and were down 1.5 percent on a year-to-date basis at 1,198.5 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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