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AAR reports rail traffic is up for week ending July 2

By Staff
July 08, 2011

Rail traffic was up for the week ending July 2, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carload volume—285,943—was up 0.3 percent year-over-year and ahead of the week ending June 25 at 284,562 and behind the week ending June 17 at 294,310. It was also behind the week ending April 2, which hit 305,905 carloads, marking the highest weekly carload tally since the end of 2008.

Carload volume was up 5.7 percent in the East and down 3.1 percent out West. Carloads on a year-to-date basis are at 7,539,227 for a 2.7 percent annual increase.

Intermodal volumes remains in the same range as recent weeks at 236,988 trailers and containers for a 2.5 percent annual hike. The two highest weeks of the year were the weeks ending June 17 and June 10 reaching 237,682 and 237,422, respectively, intermodal checked in at 234,775 for the week ending June 25.

Intermodal volumes on a year-to-date basis at 5,856,133 are up 7.8 percent compared to 2010.

Intermodal continues to make strides on the domestic side due to fuel price pressure and its ability to provide service comparable to truckload at a more favorable rate, say shippers and analysts.

Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 15 were up annually. Farm products, excluding grain, were up 22.3 percent, and lumber and wood products were up 14.3 percent.

Estimated ton-miles for the week were 31.6 billion for a 1.0 percent annual increase, and on a year-to-date basis, the 842.3 billion ton-miles recorded were up 3.8 percent.

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While the volume decline was steep, there was numerous reasons behind it, including terminal congestion, protracted contract negotiations between the Pacific Maritime Association and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, and other supply chain-related issues, according to POLA officials.

Truckload rates for the month of January, which measures truckload linehaul rates paid during the month, saw a 7.9 percent annual hike, and intermodal rates dropped 0.3 percent compared to January 2014, which the report pointed out marks the first annual intermodal pricing decline since December 2013.

Largely leveraging the net positive impact of lower fuel prices, the Shippers Conditions Index (SCI) from freight transportation consultancy FTR made major strides in December, the most recent month for which data is available.

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