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AAR Reports Rail Intermodal Volume Reaches Highest Level Since November 2008

June 25, 2010
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported that intermodal volume on U.S. freight railroads for the week ended June 19, 2010, reached its highest level since the 45th week of 2008. Intermodal traffic totaled 227,985 trailers and containers, up 21.2 percent from last year but down .2 percent from 2008. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR now reports 2010 weekly rail traffic with comparison weeks in both 2009 and 2008.

Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 23.2 percent while trailer volume rose 10.5 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume was up 8.8 percent while trailer volume fell 32.8 percent.

Rail carloads last week also posted gains over the comparable week in 2009. U.S. railroads originated 284,913 carloads during the week ended June 19, up 9.2 percent from the comparable week in 2009, but down 10 percent from 2008.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 12.2 percent from last year, but down 15.8 percent from 2008. In the West, carload volume was up 7.2 percent from last year but down 5.6 percent from two years ago.

Fifteen of the 19 carload commodities groups increased from the comparable week in 2009, with metallic ores, up 108.9 percent, and metals and metal products, up 78.2 percent, posting the most significant gains. Other notable gains include coke, up 52.6 percent, and motor vehicles and products, up 49.8 percent. Only one commodity group – coke, up .2 percent – posted an increase over 2008 levels.

For the first 24 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 6,767,470 carloads, up 7.2 percent from 2009, but down 13.4 percent from 2008; 4,976,377 trailers or containers, up 11.7 percent from 2009, but down 7.3 percent from 2008.

Canadian railroads reported volume of 73,788 cars for the week, up 22.3 percent from last year, and 49,749 trailers or containers, up 25.9 percent from 2009. For the first 24 weeks of 2010, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 1,740,750 carloads, up 21.5 percent from last year, and 1,093,534 trailers or containers, up 13.2 percent from last year.

Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 15,410 cars, up 15.3 percent from the same week last year, and 7,157 trailers or containers, up 49.2 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first 24 weeks of 2010 was reported as 329,045 carloads, up 22.4 percent from last year; and 155,918 trailers or containers, up 36.1 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 24 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 8,837,265 carloads, up 10.3 percent from last year, and 6,225,829 trailers and containers, up 12.5 percent from last year.

The AAR is the world's leading railroad policy, research, and technology organization. AAR members include the major freight railroads, or Class I railroads, of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, as well as Amtrak. For more information, visit www.aar.org.