AAR reports Thanksgiving week volumes up over 2009

Railroad volumes for the week of Thanksgiving ending November 27 showed steady year-over-year improvements, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

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Railroad volumes for the week of Thanksgiving ending November 27 showed steady year-over-year improvements, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carload volume at 254,121 was up 3.2 percent compared to the same week a year ago, which also included Thanksgiving. And carloads were down compared to the two previous weeks, which included the weekend of November 20 and November 13, at 297,990 and 297,269, respectively.

Carload volume in the East was up 6.1 percent year-over-year. Out West, carloads were up 1.6 percent year-over-year.

Despite these annual improvements, current volumes are still below peak levels, and annual gains occurring in 2010 are against a 2009 which has been described as the worst year for railroad traffic since deregulation, according to industry analysts.

Intermodal volumes at 183,790 trailers and containers were up 10.8 percent year-over-year. The weeks ending November 20 and November 13 hit 235,999 and 232,888, respectively.

The high intermodal mark for 2010 to date is the week ending September 25 at 241,167. Container volume for the week ending November 27 at 155,374 was up 11.7 percent, and trailer volume at 28,416 was up 6.1 percent, according to AAR data.

Domestic intermodal volumes on the container side are continuing to outpace the overall economic recovery in conjunction with intermodal shipments gaining share over other modes of freight transportation, according to a recent report by the Intermodal Association of North America.

Of the 19 carload commodities tracked by the AAR, 15 were up year-over-year. Metallic ores were up 78.6 percent, coke was up 53.9 percent, and metals were up 26.6 percent.

Year-to-date, total U.S. carload volumes at 13,462,287 carloads are up 7.1 percent year-over-year. Trailers or containers at 10,248,236 are up 14.3 percent year-over-year.
Estimated ton-miles for the week ending November 27 came in at 29.0 billion for a 4.7 percent annual gain. Total volume year-to-date at 1,490.2 billion ton-miles was up 8.3 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

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Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
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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