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Rail News: Intermodal

U.S. railroads' carload, intermodal unit counts continued to climb in September, AAR says


Another month, another notch on U.S. railroads’ traffic belt. In September, the roads originated 1.4 million carloads, up 0.3 percent, and 987,903 intermodal loads, up 5.4 percent compared with September 2005 data, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

“The U.S. auto sector is not doing well right now, and that has depressed rail carloadings of automotive products, [but] consumer spending still appears to be solid — a factor behind record-setting intermodal traffic in September,” said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement

In the third quarter, U.S. railroads increased carloads 1.1 percent and boosted intermodal traffic 6.1 percent on a year-over-year basis. Through 2006’s first nine months, the roads originated 13.1 million carloads, up 1.4 percent, and 9.2 million trailers and containers, up 6.3 percent compared with similar 2005 data. Estimated volume totaling 1.3 trillion ton-miles through 39 weeks rose 2.6 percent.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads had an up-and-down September. Intermodal loads totaling 187,769 units increased 4.8 percent but carloads totaling 305,550 units decreased 0.3 percent compared with September 2005.

Canadian roads’ carloads rose 0.4 percent in the third quarter but still trailed 2005’s pace by 1.1 percent through the year’s first nine months. Intermodal loads increased 5.6 percent in the quarter and 5.8 percent in the nine-month period compared with similar 2005 data.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 39 weeks, 13 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 16 million carloads, up 0.9 percent, and 11 million trailers and containers, up 6.2 percent compared with 2005’s first 39 weeks.

In Mexico, Kansas City Southern de México S.A. de C.V.’s total carloads carried rose 1.6 percent in September but decreased 4.1 percent during the year’s first nine months compared with similar 2005 data. Similarly, total intermodal units carried increased 13.8 percent in September but dropped 3.5 percent through 39 weeks.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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