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AAR reports railroad shipping volumes are up for week ending September 24

By Staff
September 30, 2011

Rail traffic was up for the week ending September 24, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carload volume—at 305,133—was up 1.1 percent annually and approached the week ending April 2, which hit 305,905 carloads, marking the highest weekly carload tally since the end of 2008. This outpaced the previous three weeks, which hit 299,914, 299,943, and 300, 521, respectively.

Eastern carloads were up 2.9 percent, and out west carloads were up 3.8 percent. On a year-to-date basis, carloads—at 11,016,908—are up 1.7 percent.

Intermodal volumes at 248,402 trailers and containers are up 3 percent annually and represents not only the highest weekly total for 2011 but also the highest weekly tally since week 39 of 2007, according to the AAR. Intermodal is up 5.5 percent year-to-date at 8,630,362. 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, 13 were up annually. Metallic ores were up 21 percent, and grain was down 21.4 percent.

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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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