AAR reports mixed volumes for week ending September 8
Carload volume—at 272,301—was down 2.3 percent annually , and intermodal volumes—at 214,517 trailers and containers—were up 3.1 percent.
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Rail carload and intermodal volumes were mixed for the week ending September 8, according to data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Carload volume—at 272,301—was down 2.3 percent annually and below the week ending September 1, which hit 292,732 and the week ending August 25 at 297,402. Eastern carloads were down 4 percent annually, and out west carloads were down 1.2 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 214,517 trailers and containers—were up 3.1 percent compared to the same week last year and below the week ending September 1 at 249,113 and the week ending August 25 at 248,364.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 11 were up annually. Petroleum products were up 64.2 percent, and farm products excluding grain were up 61.4 percent. Metallic ores were down 16.7 percent, and iron, steel and scrap were down 21.8 percent.
Carloads for the first 36 weeks of 2012—at 10,162,532—were down 4 percent compared to the first 36 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 3.7 percent at 8,441,310 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week ending September 8 were down 1.5 percent at 31.8 billion, and were down 1.5 percent on a year-to-date basis at 1,164.3 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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