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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

U.S. intermodal volume through June slightly ahead of record-year pace, AAR says


In June, U.S. railroads originated 1,140,271 carloads, down 1.3 percent, and 996,022 containers and trailers, up 5.2 percent compared with June 2011 volumes, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Average weekly intermodal volume of 249,006 units was the highest average for any June on record and the third-highest for any month, trailing only August and October 2006, the AAR’s latest Rail Time Indicators report states.

“U.S. intermodal originations in 2012 through June are slightly ahead of 2006’s record pace, setting up the very real possibility that 2012 will be the highest-volume intermodal year ever for U.S. railroads,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a prepared statement. “The recovery in intermodal traffic since the recession has been remarkable and is due in large part to railroads’ huge investments in their intermodal business that have improved rail intermodal’s reliability and efficiency.”
In the carload sector, only nine of 20 commodity groups registered gains in June, led by petroleum and petroleum products (51 percent), motor vehicles and parts (24.5 percent), lumber and wood products (11.4 percent), and food products (6.2 percent). Coal volume dropped 6.2 percent and grain loads fell 10.6 percent. Excluding coal and grain, U.S. carloads increased 4.2 percent in June, AAR's report states.
For the week ending June 30, U.S. railroads originated 278,634 carloads, down 2.5 percent, and 253,497 containers and trailers, up 7 percent compared with the same 2011 period. Canadian railroads’ weekly carloads rose 4.7 percent to 77,899 units and intermodal volume jumped 14.5 percent to 54,604 units, while Mexican railroads weekly carloads increased 7.1 percent to 15,163 units and intermodal volume climbed 13.3 percent to 10,414 units.
At 2012’s midpoint, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads through 26 weeks originated 9,683,584 carloads, down 1.6 percent, and 7,598,942 containers and trailers, up 4.4 percent compared with the same 2011 period.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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