Volumes are mixed again for the week ending March 24, says AAR
Carload volume—at 278,393—was down 7.2 percent annually and slightly below the week ending March 17 at 278,420.
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As has been the case in recent weeks, rail volumes were again mixed for the week ending March 24, according to data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Carload volume—at 278,393—was down 7.2 percent annually and slightly below the week ending March 17 at 278,420 and the week ending March 10 at 278,728, as well as the week ending March 3 at 283,312.
Eastern carloads were down 4.3 percent, and out west carloads were down 9.1 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 232,401 trailers and containers—for a 4.2 percent annual gain and was ahead of the week ending March 17 at 227,138 and the weeks ending March 10 and March 3 at 226,039 and 227,256, respectively.
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, 12 were up annually. Petroleum products were up 26.8 percent, and motor vehicles and equipment were up 13.8 percent. Coal was down 17.4 percent, and grain was down 14.2 percent.
Carloads for the first 12 weeks of 2012—at 3,392,128—were down 2.2 percent compared to the first 12 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 2.4 percent at 2,685,673 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week at 31.7 billion were down 6.5 percent, and for the year-to-date it was down 1.3 percent at 386.1 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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