Mixed volumes remain intact, reports AAR
Carload volume—at 252,931—was down 4.6 percent annually, and intermodal volumes—at 194,538 trailers and containers—were up 1.9 percent annually.
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Railroad volumes remained mixed for the week ending November 24, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported last week.
Carload volume—at 252,931—was down 4.6 percent annually. It was behind the week ending November 17 at 288,717 and the week ending November 10 at 283,414.
Eastern carload volumes were down 8.2 percent annually, and out west carloads were down 2.6 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 194,538 trailers and containers—were up 1.9 percent annually. It was down compared to the weeks ending November 17 and November 10, which hit 249,115 and 249,531, respectively.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 12 were up annually. Petroleum products were up 63.6 percent, and farm products excluding grain were up 24.8 percent. Metallic ores were down 24.7 percent, and grain was down 16.7 percent.
Carloads for the first 47 weeks of 2012—at 13,290,121—were down 3.1 percent compared to the first 47 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 3.4 percent at 11,137,923 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week ending November 24 were down 3.6 percent at 29.7 billion, and were down 2.3 percent on a year-to-date basis at 1,530.7 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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