AAR reports rail volumes for week ending July 17 are up

Weekly carload volumes—at 282,199—were up 3.5 percent compared to 2009 and down 13.8 percent compared to 2008.

By ·

Railroad volumes for the week ending July 17 were down year-over-year and up compared to 2008, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Weekly carload volumes—at 282,199—were up 3.5 percent compared to 2009 and down 13.8 percent compared to 2008. This topped the week ending July 10, which hit 252,963 carloads and included the July 4 holiday. The week ending April 24, which hit 294,218 carloads, is the highest weekly carload level since December 2008, according to the AAR.

In October 2009, the AAR began reporting weekly rail traffic with year-over-year comparisons for the previous two years, due to the fact that the economic downturn was in full effect at this time a year ago, and global trade was bottoming and economic activity was below current levels.

Carload volume in the East was up 3.8 percent year-over-year and down 15.7 percent compared to 2008. And out West carloads were up 6.7 percent year-over-year and down 12.4 percent compared to 2008.

Intermodal traffic—at 227,661 trailers and containers—was up 20.1 percent year-over-year and down 2.5 percent compared to 2008, which continues to close the gap between current and 2008 intermodal volumes. It remained the week ending July 3, which hit 231,286 trailers and containers and was its highest output since week 42 of 2008.

Domestic intermodal performance has been on a roll of late, due, in part, to a tightening of truckload capacity, which has some shippers converting to intermodal. This is indicative, said the AAR, of a years-long trend of domestic freight converting from truck trailers to containers on rail; truck trailers can be double-stacked, which makes them more cost-efficient and effective.

While the strong economic momentum from the end of 2009 through mid-June has somewhat abated, the rail industry is overall very optimistic about its future prospects, as evidenced in recent Class I railroads second quarter earnings results, which saw strong gains in pricing, volumes, and revenue per unit.

As LM has previously reported rail industry stakeholders remain optimistic about railroad growth throughout the remainder of 2010. Among the things they have pointed to include increased industrial production growth in the form of manufacturing and new orders indices, as well as gradual consumer spending, among other factors, as drivers for these gains. But even though volumes are slowly recovering, they are still well below previous peak levels.

And volumes are likely to remain strong on a year-over-year basis until at least mid-summer for most of the major carload categories, wrote Avondale Partners analyst Donald Broughton in a research note.

On a year-to-date basis, total U.S. carload volumes at 7,874,125 carloads are up 7.3 percent year-over-year and down 13.2 percent compared to 2008. Trailers or containers at 5,855,507 are up 13.1 percent year-over-year and down 6.4 percent compared to 2008.

Of the 19 carload commodities tracked by the AAR, 11 were up year-over-year. Metallic ores were up 208.4 percent and coke loadings were up 22.5 percent.

Weekly rail volume was estimated at 30.8 billion ton-miles, a 5.8 percent year-over-year increase. And total volume year-to-date at 866.5 billion ton-miles was up 8.8 percent year-over-year.


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

Subscribe to Logistics Management Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
The Internet of Things and the Modern Supply Chain
Learn today how the internet of things is transforming supply chain operations.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Issue
As the new administration sends waves of uncertainly through the global trade community, this could be the best time ever for shippers to build an investment case for GTM. Here are five trends you need to watch if you’re about to put these savvy systems to work
Carrier Consolidation Keeps Shippers Guessing
Getting Value from the Cloud
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Advance your career with the fastest growing logistics certification – APICS CLTD
During this webcast presenters will give an overview of APICS and the new Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) designation. Learn how the CLTD program can help you stay on top of current trends and advance your career.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
ASEAN Logistics: Building Collectively
While most of the world withdraws inward, Southeast Asia is practicing effective cooperation between...
2017 Rate Outlook: Will the pieces fall into place?
Trade and transport analysts see a turnaround in last year’s negative market outlook, but as...

Logistics Management’s Top Logistics News Stories 2016
From mergers and acquisitions to regulation changes, Logistics Management has compiled the most...
Making the TMS Decision: Ariens Finds Just the Right Fit
The third time is the charm for this U.S. manufacturer on the hunt for a third-party logistics (3PL)...