Rail volumes are mixed for week ending October 13, says AAR
Carload volume—at 285,089—was down 6.1 percent compared to the same week a year ago, and intermodal volumes—at 250,826 trailers and containers—were up 2.6 percent annually.
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Traffic was again mixed on the rails for the week ending October 13, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Carload volume—at 285,089—was down 6.1 percent compared to the same week a year ago and was ahead of the week ending October 6 which hit 283,440 and below the week ending September 29 at 295,243.
Eastern carloads were down 10.4 percent annually, and out west carloads were down 3.3 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 250,826 trailers and containers—were up 2.6 percent annually and below the week ending October 6 at 251,113 and also below the week ending September 29, which hit 257,225 trailers and containers and currently stands as the single highest weekly intermodal tally of 2012 and the third highest volume week for intermodal ever recorded by the AAR.
At this month’s Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals Annual Conference in Atlanta many shippers told LM that intermodal continues to be a “go to” mode in light of increasing diesel prices, regulations being enforced for motor carriers, and cost savings in exchange for longer transit times.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 12 were up annually. Farm products excluding grain were up 55.1 percent, and petroleum products were up 52.6 percent. Metallic ores were down 26.8 percent and coal was down 16.9 percent.
Carloads for the first 41 weeks of 2012—at 11,610,934—were down 2.7 percent compared to the first 41 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 3.7 percent at 9,713,203 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week ending October 13 were down 5.3 percent at 34.2 billion, and were down 1.7 percent on a year-to-date basis at 1,266.8 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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