Rail traffic continues steady start in 2011, according to AAR data

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While annual comparisons may pale somewhat when compared to last year, railroad traffic remains up on an annual basis for the week ending January 15, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carload volume at 282,987 carloads was up 7.5 percent compared to the corresponding week last year. This is down slightly compared to the week ending January 8 at 285,108 carloads and up compared to the 240,073 for the week ending January 1. The AAR said that carload volume was up 2.5 percent in the East and 7.4 percent out West.

Intermodal volumes for the week ending January 15 checked in at 213,486 trailers and containers for a 5.8 percent annual gain, which was pretty much even with the week ending January 8 at 213,665 and well above the week ending January 1 at 166,894. Container volume for the week at 181,876 was up 7.2 percent, and trailer volume at 31,610 was down 1.5 percent.

These totals continue the positive trends seen in rail traffic from the majority of 2010 although it may not be as much of a growth year as 2010 was, considering its weekly and monthly volumes were up against a dismal 2009.

What’s more, railroad shippers appear to be optimistic about their growth prospects for 2011, according to the results of a Dahlman Rose Rail Shippers Study.

The study indicated that rail shippers regained confidence during the second half of 2010 and expect their respective businesses to grow at an average rate of 7.7 percent over the next 12 months, which tops the previous of 9 percent for the first quarter of 2010 since the end of the recession, with 52 percent of shippers stating they are more confident in the direction of the economy than three-to-four months ago.

Of the 20 commodity groups the AAR tracks, 11 saw annual growth, with metallic ores up 119.2 percent and all other carloads up 34.2 percent.

Estimated ton-miles for the week ending January 15 were 31.6 billion for a 7.8 percent annual increase, and for the first two weeks of 2011 the 63.5 billion ton-miles recorded are up 14.4 percent.

For more stories on railroad shipping, click here.


About the Author

Jeff Berman
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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