Subscribe to our free, weekly email newsletter!


September carloads and intermodal units post annual gains, says AAR

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
October 04, 2013

Both United States carload and intermodal volumes in September were up annually, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR) this week.

The AAR reported that September carloads—at 1,159,784—were up 0.7 percent over September 2012. Of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR, 11 saw annual gains with crushed stone, sand, and gravel up 10.0 percent, motor vehicles and parts up 12.0 percent, and petroleum and petroleum products up 10.4 percent.

Coal and grain continued to show decreases, down 2.7 percent and 11.3 percent respectively. The AAR noted that when removing coal carloads were up 3.0 percent, and when removing coal and grain they were up 4.9 percent for the month.

“Those who follow the rail industry know that carloads of grain and coal can rise or fall by substantial amounts for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the state of the economy,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray in a statement. “Not so with most other rail traffic categories, however. The fact that rail carloads excluding coal and grain were up 4.9 percent in September — the biggest year-over-year monthly gain since last December — is a hopeful sign.” 

Intermodal containers and trailers were up 4.4 percent annually with 1,027,522 containers and trailers.

The AAR said that the weekly intermodal average of 256,881 units marked the second highest monthly average ever recorded, as well as posting the three highest-volume weeks for U.S. railroads, with the Labor Day holiday preventing it from posting the highest intermodal month ever.

Speakers at last week’s FTR Transportation Conference in Indianapolis highlighted intermodal’s strength of late.

Mark Yeager, Vice Chairman and COO of freight transportation, logistics, and intermodal services provider Hub Group, explained that intermodal is doing a great job in competing with the truckload market, as well as in taking share.

“Intermodal is on a roll, and domestic intermodal has continued to grow well,” Yeager said. “I think we are seeing a pretty normalized intermodal environment out there that means we are seeing a normal uptick in activity. The West Coast has been solid but nothing [booming] like we saw in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Because we have really been in a freight recession since 2006, you have not really seen the volatile peaks that maybe we saw back in the late 90’s and early 00’s. A lot of the strength in intermodal has to do with stability and shipper confidence and consistent and reliable service that offers an opportunity to substantially reduce supply chain costs. As long as intermodal service remains reliable, we are likely to see it continue to take share.”

The AAR reported that for the week ending September 28, U.S-based railroads moved 296,809 carloads for a 0.5 percent annual gain, and intermodal was up 1.6 percent at 269,853 loadings. And on a year-to-date basis through the first 39 weeks of 2013, the AAR said that carloads were down 0.9 percent at 10,940,538, and intermodal was up 1.2 percent at 9,547,764.

About the Author

Jeff Berman headshot
Jeff Berman
Group News Editor

Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


Subscribe to Logistics Management magazine

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Get timely insider information that you can use to better manage your
entire logistics operation.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Recent Entries

The Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP)called on Congress to take a close look at data recently issued by the Department of Transportation (DOT) in its “Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study, ” and focus on reforming Interstate vehicle weight limits for six-axle trucks.

A recent report published by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association makes clear the supply chain challenges consumer packaged goods (CPG) shippers are up against, with some of these challenges, specifically transportation-related ones, gaining traction in recent years.

Join Evan Armstrong, president of Armstrong & Associates, as he explains how creating a balanced portfolio of "Top 50" global and domestic partners can maximize efficiency and mitigate risk. Using the precise metrics captured in Armstrong’s most recent study, he'll demonstrate how shippers can measure ROI and plan for the future.

At $2.832 per gallon, the average price per gallon was down 1.1 cents, following drops of 1.6 and 1.1 cents the previous two weeks and a cumulative 8.2 cent cumulative drop over the last six weeks.

The index ISM uses to measure non-manufacturing growth—known as the NMI—was 56.0 in June, which edged out May by 0.3 percent.

Article Topics

News · Intermodal · AAR · Railroad Shipping · Carload · All topics

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.


© Copyright 2015 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA