Rail volumes remain mixed for week ending May 19, says AAR
Carload volume—at 280,565—was down 5 percent annually. Intermodal volumes—at 241,664 trailers and containers—were up 3.1 percent .
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Rail carload and intermodal volumes were again mixed for the week ending May 19, according to data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Carload volume—at 280,565—was down 5 percent annually and ahead of the week ending May 12 at 279,063 and also ahead of the week ending May 5 at 276,136.
Eastern carloads were down 4.5 percent annually, and out west carloads were down 5.3 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 241,664 trailers and containers—were up 3.1 percent and ahead of the week ending May 12 at 238,980 and the week ending May 5 at 239,031.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 12 were up annually. Petroleum products were up 49.4 percent, and motor vehicles and equipment were up 23.3 percent.
Coal was down 16.1 percent.
Carloads for the first 20 weeks of 2012—at 5,627,959—were down 3.4 percent compared to the first 20 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 2.8 percent at 4,595,071 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week at 32.1 billion were down 3.9 percent, and for the year-to-date it is down 2.5 percent at 640.7 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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