AAR reports January volumes are up year-over-year

Rail volumes in January were up compared to the same period in 2010, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

By ·

Rail volumes in January were up compared to the same period in 2010, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Rail carloads for January—at 1,142,293—were up 8 percent year-over-year. The weekly January average of 285,573 carloads was up 8 percent year-over-year and up 9 percent over January 2009, but it represents the lowest January average since 1994, said the AAR. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, carloads were up 7.4 percent from December.

Intermodal volumes in January came in at 863,099 trailers and containers for a 7.4 percent increase over January 2010. The weekly intermodal average for January was 215,775 for a 7.1 percent annual gain and up 10.1 percent over January 2009. On a seasonally-adjusted basis, January intermodal volumes were up 1.8 percent from December.

The AAR has noted in the past that domestic intermodal traffic in particular continues to see strong growth due to conversions of over-the-road domestic traffic to rail and growth in international trade. The AAR also said it reflects a years-long trend of domestic freight converting from truck trailers to containers on rail; truck containers can be double-stacked, which makes them more cost-efficient and effective.

It also noted that growth in intermodal traffic is a function of both a growing economy and growing international trade.

“Steady growth is good news for railroads and the economy, but there is still more ground to cover before we return to pre-recession levels,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Rail is vital to connecting business to the marketplace, and the gradual gain in intermodal traffic as well as carloads shows how broad U.S. economic recovery may be.”

While railroad activity is clearly picking up, it is still lagging 2008 and earlier years on an absolute volume basis. And based on various economic indicators it is clear it will be a while more until rail volumes return to the same levels as previous years. Industry experts have told LM that rail traffic is in fact stronger than the macroeconomic, business, and general news headlines would suggest.

Of the 19 major commodities tracked by the AAR, 15 were up on an annual basis in January. Metallic ores were up 63 percent, primary metal products were up 21 percent, crushed stone, gravel, and sand were up 16.2 percent. Coal was up 8.8 percent.

Railroad employee numbers fell by 642 to 154,400 employees in November (the most recent month for which data is available).

For more articles on railroad shipping, click here.


About the Author

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. Contact Jeff Berman

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!

Hub Group Resources
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.
Click here to download
Latest Whitepaper
Leveraging Florida Ports to Expand Two-Way Trade with Asia
Florida’s geography is convenient to global markets and serves as the perfect conduit for Asia-focused container trade. Florida Ports, seaport white papers, Benefits of using florida ports
Download Today!
From the April 2018 Logistics Management Magazine
As companies continue to search for the next generation of logistics management talent, the existing workforce is being asked to deliver more than ever before. While our survey respondents aren’t griping about the workload, they maintain that new challenges require more resources.
LM Viewpoint: 2018 Salary Survey, delivering more than ever
Smoother execution through S&OP
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
Reshaping the Restaurant Supply Chain in the Digital Age
Get an inside look at how a leading restaurant group Bloomin’ Brands Inc (BBI), coordinates its complex supply chain to deliver an exceptional restaurant experience at the lowest cost to serve.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
34th Annual Salary Survey: Salary growth slows, tasks soar
As companies continue to search for the next generation of logistics management talent, the existing...
Evolution of E-commerce: The possibilities of tomorrow
We know e-commerce is reshaping logistics, but what are the technologies savvy managers can leverage...

State of Global Logistics: Delivering above and beyond
Industry experts agree that costs across all sectors worldwide will continue to rise in 2018, and...
2018 Rate Outlook: Economic Expansion, Pushing Rates Skyward
Trade and transport analysts see rates rising across all modes in accordance with continued...