Rail and intermodal volumes both show gains for week ending June 23, says AAR
Carload volume—at 288,730—was up 1.4 percent annually, and intermodal volume—at 246,128 trailer and containers—were up 4.8 percent.
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Rail carload and intermodal volumes were both up for the week ending June 23, according to data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Carload volume—at 288,730—was up 1.4 percent annually and ahead of the week ending June 16 at 287,036 and the week ending June 9 at 285,413. Eastern carloads were flat annually, and out west carloads were up 2.3 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 246,128 trailer and containers—were up 4.8 percent compared to the same week last year and were behind the week ending June 16 at 249,976 and slightly below the week ending June 9 at 246,422.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 11 were up annually. Petroleum products were up 51.4 percent, and motor vehicles and equipment were up 27.8 percent.
Metallic ore was down 29.3 percent, and iron and steel scrap was down 14.2 percent.
Carloads for the first 25 weeks of 2012—at 7,046,184—were down 2.9 percent compared to the first 25 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 3.2 percent at 5,796,233 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week ending June 23 were up 2.8 percent at 32.9 billion, and were down 2.0 percent on a year-to-date basis at 802.3 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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