AAR reports carload and intermodal volumes up for week ending October 30

Railroad volumes for the week ending October 30 showed continued year-over-year improvement, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). Carload volume at 292,884 was up 6.3 percent year-over-year, but down compared to the weeks ending October 23 and October 16 at 302,855 and 303,664, respectively.

By ·

Railroad volumes for the week ending October 30 showed continued year-over-year improvement, according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carload volume at 292,884 was up 6.3 percent year-over-year, but down compared to the weeks ending October 23 and October 16 at 302,855 and 303,664, respectively.

Carload volume in the East was down 0.3 percent year-over-year. Out West, carloads were up 11.1 percent year-over-year.

In October 2009, the AAR began reporting weekly rail traffic with year-over-year comparisons for the previous two years, due to the fact that the economic downturn was in full effect at this time a year ago, and global trade was bottoming and economic activity was below current levels. Earlier this month, the AAR said it will no longer include 2008 annual comparisons in its week volume releases, because “October 2008 marked the beginning of the recession-related downturn in rail traffic.”

But as LM has reported, even with railroads in recovery mode, current volumes are still below peak levels, and annual gains occurring in 2010 are against a 2009 which has been described as the worst year for railroad traffic since deregulation, according to industry analysts.

Intermodal, which has been gaining strength for the majority of 2010, came in at 232,717 trailers and containers for a 14.2 percent annual increase, which was slightly below the week ending October 23 at 235,606 trailers and containers and the week ending October 16 at 232,272. The high intermodal mark for 2010 to date is the week ending September 25 at 241,167.

Container volume at 197,431 was up 15.7 percent, and trailer volume at 35,286 was up 6.5 percent.

Shippers are turning to intermodal more as a cost-effective and efficient alternative to trucking, according to intermodal marketing company executives. And as volumes increase, railroads and IMC’s need to focus on maintaining high service levels for
shippers, they said.

Of the 19 carload commodities tracked by the AAR, 13 were up year-over-year. Metallic ores were up 128.2 percent, and crushed stone, sand, and gravel loadings were up 27.5 percent. Coal loadings at 128,434 were up 3.6 percent year-over-year.

Avondale Partners analyst Donald Broughton wrote in a research note that coal is finally beginning to contribute to what have been resurgent volumes, as coal stockpiles have moved back toward normal levels.

“The coal stockpile replenishment cycle usually yields weekly coal volumes for the industry in the 150-160k carload range as opposed to the recent range of 130-145k,” wrote Broughton. “This comes on top of the steady rise in intermodal units and the strong volumes seen in chemical and metals, as well as the growing boost from agricultural volumes moving forward.”

Year-to-date, total U.S. carload volumes at 12,324,661 carloads are up 7.3 percent year-over-year. Trailers or containers at 9,364,481 are up 14.6 percent year-over-year.


About the Author

Jeff Berman, Group News Editor
Jeff Berman is Group News Editor for Logistics Management, Modern Materials Handling, and Supply Chain Management Review. Jeff works and lives in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, where he covers all aspects of the supply chain, logistics, freight transportation, and materials handling sectors on a daily basis. Contact Jeff Berman

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

· All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Your Guide to Voice for the Warehouse
Is voice a good fit for my operation? How would voice work in my warehouse? With the help of the Vitech Guide to Voice, you can find all the answers to your voice questions in one place.
Download Today!
From the October 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
An early adopter, Rochester Drug Cooperative is using robotic piece-picking technology to complement picking of slow-moving items. System report for Rochester Drug Cooperative, Robotic picking and inventory management, Innovative distribution center robotics solutions , IAM Robotics case study
Injecting agility into WMS implementation
The Big Picture: Business as Unusual
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
The State of the DC Voice Market
A lot has changed in the last 10 years, especially in voice technology. This webinar will cover the state of the voice market, review two leading voice solutions and help you gain a better understanding of the options and capabilities available today.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Rochester Drug Cooperative: Robots ready for work
It’s still early stages, but Rochester Drug Cooperative is proving that mobile robotic piece...
Manufacturing Day: 2,716 events from Hawaii to Alaska to Puerto Rico
Events to be scheduled throughout the month, so the remaining 249,185 manufacturing firms in the...

System Report: Pouch sorter powers Stage’s fulfillment needs
How a hometown department store chain transformed its e-fulfillment processes with pouch sortation...
Cubing and Weighing Equipment: Measure Up
The use of cubing and weighing equipment is growing beyond dimensional weight applications.