Volumes are mixed are on the rails again, reports AAR
Carload volume—at 292,644—was down 4.1 percent, and intermodal volumes—at 250,253 trailers and containers—were up 0.7 percent.
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Rail carload and intermodal volumes were mixed for the week ending September 22, according to data from the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
Carload volume—at 292,644—was down 4.1 percent annually and ahead of the week ending September 15 at 291,350 and the week ending September 8 at 272,301.
Eastern carloads were down 6.4 percent annually, and out west carloads were down 2.6 percent.
Intermodal volumes—at 250,253 trailers and containers—were up 0.7 percent and below the week ending September 15 at 251,720 and the week ending September 8 at 214,517
Of the 20 commodity groups tracked by the AAR, nine were up annually. Petroleum products were up 54 percent, and motor vehicles and equipment were up 13.2 percent. Metallic ores were down 33.3 percent.
Carloads for the first 38 weeks of 2012—at 10,747,162—were down 2.5 percent compared to the first 38 weeks of 2011, and intermodal was up 3.6 percent at 8,943,283 trailers and containers.
Estimated ton-miles for the week ending September 22 were down 3.1 percent at 34.1 billion, and were down 1.6 percent on a year-to-date basis at 1,232.6 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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