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Rail News: Intermodal

U.S. railroads shatter weekly intermodal traffic record, AAR says


During the week ending April 24, U.S. railroads set a weekly intermodal traffic record at 213,104 trailers and containers, besting the previous record set the week of Nov. 22, 2003, by 0.9 percent, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Intermodal loads rose 13.6 percent compared with the same 2003 period, with trailer and container traffic increasing 19.1 and 11.7 percent, respectively.

"The fact that an intermodal volume record was set this early in the year is significant," said AAR Vice President for Policy and Economics Craig Rockey in a prepared statement. "Normally, intermodal doesn't peak until late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter."

U.S. roads didn't fare too badly with weekly carload traffic, either, moving 341,969 cars or 3.7 percent more compared with the same 2003 period. AAR estimates total weekly volume at 31.2 billion ton-miles, up 5.8 percent.

During 2004's first 16 weeks, U.S. roads moved 5,309,651 carloads, up 3.2 percent, and 3,206,233 trailers and containers, up 7.9 percent compared with a similar 2003 period.

Canadian roads improved weekly carload figures, too. During the week ending April 24, they moved 72,940 cars or 10.2 percent more compared with the same 2003 week. However, Canadian roads' weekly intermodal traffic dropped 0.9 percent to 42,189 trailers and containers.

During the year's first 16 weeks, the roads moved 1,075,224 carloads, up 6.9 percent, and 643,926 trailers and containers, down 0.5 percent compared with last year.

On a combined cumulative-volume basis through 16 weeks, 15 reporting U.S. and Canadian roads moved 6,384,875 carloads, a 3.8 percent increase, and 3,850,159 trailers and containers, a 6.4 percent increase compared with the same 2003 period.

Meanwhile, TFM S.A. de C.V. is beginning to break out of its year-long traffic slump. During the week ending April 24, the Mexican Class I moved 8,639 cars or 25.3 percent more compared with last year.

But the road's weekly intermodal volume of 2,264 originated trailers and containers dropped 28.9 percent. And through the year's first 16 weeks, TFM's carloads (133,568) and intermodal loads (53,804 trailers and containers) are down 5.4 percent and 7.9 percent, respectively, compared with the same 2003 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/3/2004