AAR reports U.S. carload and intermodal gains for week ending July 8

Carloads, at 229,501, were up 1.1%, and intermodal containers and trailers rose 3.7% to 223,579.

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United States rail carloads and intermodal containers and trailers each saw annual increases for the week ending July 8, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported this week.

Carloads, at 229,501, were up 1.1%. This tally, which includes a day less of volumes due to the July 4 holiday, trailed the week ending July 1 at 270,353 and the week ending June 24 at 263,504.

The AAR said that three of the ten carload commodity groups it tracks were up, including: nonmetallic minerals, up 17.3 percent to 34,115 carloads; coal, up 5.7 percent to 76,931 carloads; and chemicals, up 4.4 percent to 29,246 carloads. Commodity groups that posted decreases compared with the same week in 2016 included petroleum and petroleum products, down 19 percent to 8,449 carloads; miscellaneous carloads, down 15.3 percent to 7,853 carloads; and grain, down 13.3 percent to 18,062 carloads.

In LM’s recent State of Logistics Rail/Intermodal story, independent rail analyst Tony Hatch explained that for each month of 2017 rail carload volumes have gotten slightly better, with the caveat that volumes will start to slow down, due to a reasonably healthy economy and a reasonably healthy rail economy, and easy annual comparisons.

Intermodal containers and trailers for the week ending July 8 rose 3.7% to 223,579, which was below the weeks ending July 1 and June 24 at 276,008 and 281,190, respectively.

Stifel analyst John Larkin observed in a research note that intermodal “remains in vogue” among shippers as they are attracted to lower price, reduced fuel surcharge and truck-like service levels.

“They view intermodal as insurance against the risk of widespread truckload capacity shortages that could appear over the next several years as the federal government implements a series of safety-oriented regulations that will likely reduce driver supply and hamper the productivity of those drivers still working in the industry,” wrote Larkin.

Through the first 27 weeks of 2017, AAR reported that U.S. carload volumes are up 6.2% at 6,928,954, and intermodal is up 2.7% at 7,116,252 units.  

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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Article Topics

AAR · Carload · intermodal · All Topics
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