Rails Post Strong Week in Intermodal

Intermodal was a star performer for the major U.S. railroads in the week ended Oct. 10.

According to a report from the Association of American Railroads, railroads experienced their largest weekly volumes of intermodal traffic with originations of containers and trailers totaling 208,941. Containers accounted for 176,578 of the intermodal units originated for the week. That weekly total is up from 206,293 containers and trailers that the major railroads hauled a week earlier, which had been the most they carried in any single week of 2009.

Rail carload traffic remains down, however. Major U.S. railroads originated 273,429 carloads, down 17.2 percent compared with the same week in 2008. Carloads were down 15.4 percent in the West and 19.7 percent in the East.

Seventeen of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from the same week last year. Nonmetallic minerals were up 6 percent and grain mill products were up 1.4 percent. Weekly declines in commodity groups ranged from 3.1 percent for grain to 15.8 percent for coal to 70.4 percent for metallic ores.

For the first 40 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,655,334 carloads, down 18.1 percent from the same 2008 period.