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Rail News: Intermodal

U.S. railroads post first monthly carload gain since December 2006, AAR says

It took nearly a year, but U.S. railroads finally have a monthly carload gain to crow about. In November, the roads originated 1.3 million carloads, a 2.9 percent increase compared with November 2006's total — and their first year-over-year gain since December 2006, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Ten of the 19 major commodity categories tracked by the AAR registered gains. U.S. railroads ended November on a high note, too.

"The most recent week (ending Dec. 1) was the highest single week for U.S. rail carloadings since week 23 in June 2006," said AAR Vice President Craig Rockey in a prepared statement. "Strong export coal and grain sales are a factor."

However, the intermodal side of the traffic ledger wasn't strong in November. U.S. roads' intermodal volume dipped 0.9 percent in to 924,190 units compared with November 2006's total.

During 2007's first 11 months, U.S. railroads originated 15.7 million carloads, down 2.4 percent, and 11.2 million intermodal loads, down 2.1 percent compared with totals from the same 2006 period. Estimated volume totaled 1.63 trillion ton-miles, representing a 1 percent decrease year over year.

Canadian railroads had a good November on two counts. Originated carloads rose 9.8 percent to 323,741 units and intermodal volume also increased 9.8 percent to 202,282 units compared with totals from November 2006.

Through 11 months, Canadian roads originated 3.8 million carloads, up 0.4 percent, and 2.3 million intermodal loads, up 3.6 percent year over year.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 11 months, 13 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 19.4 million carloads, down 1.9 percent, and 13.4 million trailers and containers, down 1.1 percent compared with totals from the same 2006 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/10/2007