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

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.

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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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Not Your Grandfather's Intermodal
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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