September U.S. carload and intermodal volumes are mixed, reports AAR

Features News Rail & Intermodal Transportation

United States rail carload and intermodal volumes were mixed in September, according to data issued this week by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

Carloads fell 2.3%, or 24,106, annually to 1,044,563. And eight of the 20 carload commodity categories tracked by the AAR were up annually, including: crushed stone, sand & gravel, up 8,845 carloads or 9.3 percent; primary metal products, up 3,877 carloads or 11.8 percent; and metallic ores, up 3,163 carloads or 13.6 percent. Commodities that saw declines in September 2017 from September 2016 included: grain, down 16,329 carloads or 16.7 percent; petroleum & petroleum products, down 7,267 carloads or 17.0 percent; and motor vehicles & parts, down 7,203 carloads or 9.8 percent.

When removing coal, September carloads were down 21,257 carloads, or 3.0 percent annually and when excluding coal and grain, carloads were down 4,928 carloads, or 0.8 percent.

Intermodal volumes in September headed up 3.8%, or 39,482 units, to 1,080,444 containers and trailers.

“As our economy and population grow, consumer spending will grow too, and intermodal will continue to be the best way to get many goods to consumers,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray in a statement.  “The last two weeks of September were the top two intermodal weeks in history for U.S. and Canadian railroads.  We’re confident that the tremendous efforts railroads have been expending in recent years to improve service and enhance capacity will translate into continued intermodal gains.” 

U.S. carloads are up 3.8%, or 369,322 carloads, at 10,106,660 through the first nine months of 2016, and intermodal containers and trailers are up 3.5%, or 348,784 units, to 10,432,552.

For the week ending September 30, U.S. carloads were down 1.6% annually at 272,662, and intermodal containers and trailers increased 5.5% to 286,893, setting a new weekly intermodal record for the second straight week.

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

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