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Railroad shipping: AAR reports steady volume gains for week ending October 8

By Staff
October 14, 2011

Rail traffic was up for the week ending October 7, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carload volume—at 302,500—was up 2.1 percent annually and was behind the week ending October 1, which hit 312,170 carloads, and is the highest weekly carload mark for 2011, according to AAR data. The prior two weeks hit 305,133 and 305,905, respectively.

Eastern carloads were up 2.2 percent, and out west carloads were up 2.2 percent. On a year-to-date basis, carloads—at 11,631,650—are up 1.8 percent.

Intermodal volumes at 241,999 trailers and containers were down from the week ending October 1, which hit 250,864 for the highest weekly total for 2011 and highest weekly tally since week 39 of 2007. The week ending September was the previous 2011 high at 248,402.

Intermodal volumes for 9,123,225 trailers and containers for the year-to-date are 5.4 percent ahead of last year’s pace. 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, 11 were up annually. Petroleum products were up 28.3 percent, and non-metallic minerals were up 19.6 percent.

Estimated ton miles for the week at 36.2 billion were up 3.4 percent and for the year-to-date, they were up 2.8 percent at 1,315.4 billion.

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Carload volumes were up 2.8 percent at 304,276, and intermodal volume for the week ending August 16 was up 5.4 percent at 270,316 containers and trailers.

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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