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Rail News: Intermodal

AAR: U.S. railroads register more carloads, fewer intermodal loads in May


Despite a sluggish latter half of the month, U.S. railroads boosted carloads in May. They originated 1.3 million carloads, representing a 0.5 percent increase compared with May 2007's total, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

"Coal, chemicals, and grain together accounted for nearly 60 percent of U.S. rail carloads in May, and all three showed carload increases over last year," said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a prepared statement.

However, the railroads' intermodal volume totaling 901,380 units declined 0.9 percent year over year.

During 2008's first five months, U.S. railroads originated 7.1 million carloads, up 1 percent, and 4.8 million containers and trailers, down 3.1 percent compared with totals from the same 2007 period. Total volume reached an estimated 740.1 billion ton-miles, rising 2.2 percent above last year's mark.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads in May originated 304,833 carloads, down 4.7 percent vs. May 2007's total. But their intermodal volume totaling 192,513 units rose 5.2 percent year over year. Through five months, Canadian roads' carloads totaling 1.6 million units dropped 3.8 percent and intermodal traffic totaling 1 million units increased 4.5 percent compared with totals from the same 2007 period.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 22 weeks, 12 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 8.8 million carloads, up slightly, and 5.9 million intermodal loads, down 1.8 percent year over year.

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