AAR reports mixed volumes for July 2012

By Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
August 03, 2012 - LM Editorial

Continuing a common theme, carload and intermodal volumes were again mixed in July, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

July carloads—at 1,103,733—were down 7,787 carloads or 0.7 percent annually, with a weekly carload average of 285,068.

Of the 20 commodity categories tracked by the AAR, eight were up annually in July. Petroleum and petroleum products were up 13,368 carloads or 47.2 percent, and motor vehicles and parts were up 9,317 carloads or 23.3 percent.

“Carloads of some of the more economically sensitive commodities, such as lumber and wood, steel, and autos, gave us a mixed message in July,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray in a statement. “While lumber related to home construction remained very positive, other manufactured goods either grew more slowly than they have been or actually fell in July. It remains to be seen if this is just a blip or something more serious.”

Intermodal—at 946,071 trailers and containers—was up 50,431 units or 5.6 percent compared to July 2011. The weekly intermodal average for the month—at 236,518—is the highest ever recorded for July, said the AAR.

AAR officials said recently that year-to-date 2012 U.S. intermodal originations were slightly ahead of 2006, “setting up the very real possibility that 2012 will be the highest-volume intermodal year ever for U.S. railroads.” They added that the recovery since 2009 for intermodal volumes has been remarkable. In the first six months of 2009, the AAR noted that average weekly intermodal loadings were 185,075 containers and trailers. And in the first six months of 2012, the average was up to 232,682 containers and trailers, a 25.7 percent increase.

Even with mixed volumes remaining prevalent, rail analysts have told LM that a steady and slow growth pattern remains intact in 2012, which has aided the rails for future planning in the form of record-high 2012 capital expenditure plans by Class I railroads, which are at about $13 billion.
What’s more, anecdotal reports indicate that shippers are generally satisfied with current service levels, although there is some concern about future capacity, with current capacity levels solid.

“Railroading continues to flourish as the recession torques back into recovery and this will likely continue for quite some time,” said Brooks Bentz, a partner in Accenture’s Supply Chain practice. “Domestic intermodal is doing well, international is sluggish, although an increase in the range of 4.0%-4.5% is predicted. Carload is doing OK, basically tracking close to GDP, with the major exception of coal, which is seeing year-over-year declines. Industry leaders fairly uniformly see it as a one-way slide, with recovery of any magnitude not likely soon, if eve.  This, though, has not materially dampened the overall rail recovery.”

The AAR reported that Class I employment increased by 611 employees in June (the most recent month for which data is available) from May and up 3,819 compared to June 2011. And it added that total Class I employment at 163,159 is at its highest level since October 2008.

For the week ending July 28, the AAR reported that U.S. carloads—at 288,167—were down 1.5 percent annually. And intermodal—at 250,319—was up 4.1 percent annually.  And for the first 30 weeks of 2012, the AAR said that U.S. railroad carloads were down 2.6 percent at 8,428,551, while intermodal was up 3.6 percent at 6,995,801 trailers and containers.



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

Join Industry Expert Adrian Gonzalez for this educational webinar on the tenets and the benefits of Closed-Loop Operational Management. You’ll learn how Closed-Loop Operational Management optimizes orders, inventory, and transportation concurrently, and how it is able to optimize large-scale problems on a daily basis.

In a separate conference call following CP’s third quarter earnings release call yesterday, CP CEO Hunter Harrison make myriad convincing points for a merger between CP and CSX and offered up his take in general industry M&A as well.

Seasonally-adjusted (SA) for-hire truck tonnage in September checked in at 132.6 (2000=100) for the second straight month, remaining as the current all-time high level for the second month in a row, with November 2013’s 131.0 now the second best month recorded.

Ahead of its third quarter earnings call this Friday, freight transportation and logistics titan UPS rolled out rate increases for 2015 that are set to take effect on December 29, 2014.

The 'Internet of Things' or IoT is a term that has rapidly taken center stage in business and consumer technology circles, with tremendous amounts of hype in both. Don't be distracted if some of the hypothetical consumer examples of the IoT seem far-fetched; the trend has serious implications for businesses. This complimentary whitepaper takes a look at some of the opportunities afforded by the Internet of Business Things.

Article Topics

News · Intermodal · AAR · Carload · All topics

About the Author

Jeff Berman, 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. Contact Jeff Berman.

Comments

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


© Copyright 2013 Peerless Media LLC, a division of EH Publishing, Inc • 111 Speen Street, Ste 200, Framingham, MA 01701 USA