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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

AAR weekly report: U.S. roads set 2010 intermodal record, all-time container mark


U.S. railroads distanced themselves from sluggish Labor Day-influenced traffic by setting an all-time-high container record and 2010-high intermodal volume record in the post-holiday week. During the week ending Sept. 18, they handled 240,013 containers and trailers, up 16.9 percent year over year, according to Association of American Railroads (AAR) data. Container volume totaling 205,532 units jumped 18.8 percent and trailer volume totaling 34,481 units rose 6.5 percent.

For the week, U.S. railroads also originated 304,679 carloads, up 8.1 percent compared with volume from the same week in 2009. Seventeen of 19 carload commodity groups posted gains, including coal, which increased volume by 8 percent. The outlook for utility coal traffic remains positive, according to Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.’s latest “Rail Flash” report.

“A strong summer coal burn and increased industrial electrical demand have reduced stockpiles to more normal levels,” Baird analysts said in the report.

Meanwhile, Canadian railroads reported weekly volume of 75,524 carloads, up 10.9 percent, and 52,407 intermodal loads, up 14.4 percent year over year. For the week ending Sept. 18, Mexican railroads reported 12,091 carloads, up 11.7 percent, and 6,885 containers and trailers, up 10.6 percent.

Through 2010’s first 37 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads originated 13.7 million carloads, up 9.8 percent, and 9.9 million containers and trailers, up 15.1 percent compared with totals from the same 2009 period.

For more AAR traffic data for the week ending Sept. 18 and through 37 weeks, follow this link.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 9/24/2010