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Rail traffic is up for the week ending August 20, says AAR

By Staff
August 26, 2011

Rail traffic was up for the week ending August 20, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carload volume—at 300,521—was up 1.1 percent annually, and it was ahead of the week ending August 13, which hit 292,266 and the week ending August 6 at 287,329. It was slightly behind the week ending April 2, which hit 305,905 carloads, marking the highest weekly carload tally since the end of 2008.

Carload volume was up 1.3 percent in the East and up 0.9 percent out West. Carloads on a year-to-date basis are at 9,531,017 for a 2 percent annual increase.

Intermodal volumes for the week at 238,680 trailers and containers were up 1 percent annually and behind ahead of the previous two weeks, which hit 235,598 and 235,568, respectively.

Intermodal volumes on a year-to-date basis at 7,461,628 are up 6.3 percent compared to 2010. Shippers continue to turn to intermodal as an alternative to trucking movements, as they can see significant fuel savings in exchange for a longer transit time.

Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 14 were up annually. Metallic ores were up 24.7 percent, and farm products, excluding grain, were down 14.5 percent.

Estimated ton-miles for the week were 34.6 billion for a 1.8 percent annual increase, and
on a year-to-date basis, the 1,071.7 billion ton-miles recorded were up 3.0 percent.

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Even though this data can be viewed as “old” in the sense that there is not a whole lot new to report about the port labor talks, it does a good job of looking into the mindset of shippers as talks continue.

Company officials said this service will be provided without any type of additional cost for customer shipments traveling from Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana, with expedited services available to customers outside of this area.

FTR says both spot rates and contract rates are heading up in a full capacity environment and with the fall shipping season rapidly approaching, it explained conditions for shippers could further deteriorate.

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