Media Kit » Try RailPrime™ Today! »
Progressive Railroading
Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

View Current Digital Issue »


Rail News Home Intermodal


Rail News: Intermodal

U.S. railroads register carload and intermodal volume declines in August, AAR says


August didn't start or end well for U.S. railroads. The result: fewer carloads and intermodal loads vs. last year.

Last month, U.S. roads originated 1.3 million carloads, down 0.5 percent, and 941,500 containers and trailers, down 1.7 percent compared with August 2007 levels, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data.

Although metallic ore carloads jumped 18.8 percent to 33,172 units, coal volume rose 5.2 percent to 603,229 units and chemical loads went up 3.4 percent to 126,342 units, the railroads registered large declines in motor vehicles and equipment moves (down 33 percent to 55,126 units), coke volume (down 31.9 percent to 15,794 units), and crushed stone, sand and gravel shipments (down 10.3 percent to 77,245 units).

"Last week's announcement that preliminary second-quarter GDP was up 3.3 percent, up from a 0.9 percent increase in the first quarter, could mean that the economy is stronger than many people think. Or, it could just be a blip prior to slower growth ahead," said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a prepared statement. "And while rail traffic figures right now don't lend much support either way ... railroads are in good position to handle the steady traffic increase that will come when the economy does return to a clear, strong upward path."

During 2008's first eight months, U.S. railroads originated 11.4 million carloads, up 0.3 percent, and 7.8 million intermodal loads, down 2.9 percent compared with totals from the same 2007 period. Total volume reached an estimated 1.18 trillion ton-miles, up 1.4 percent.

For Canadian railroads, August continued a year-long intermodal-up/carloads-down trend. They originated 294,746 carloads, down 4 percent, and 203,602 containers and trailers, up 3.1 percent compared with August 2007 levels. Through eight months, Canadian roads boosted intermodal volume 4.1 percent to 1.7 million units, but registered a 4.1 percent decline in carloads at 2.6 million units vs. totals from the same 2007 period.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 35 weeks, 12 reporting U.S. and Canadian railroads originated 14 million carloads, down 0.6 percent, and 9.5 million containers and trailers, down 1.7 percent year over year.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/5/2008