U.S. roads set intermodal volume records in October

In October, U.S. Class Is originated 1,507,917 carloads, up 4.4 percent compared with October 2013 volume. Weekly carloads averaged 301,583, only the third time since 2008 that the weekly average exceeded 300,000 units in a given month, according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR).

U.S. Class Is also handled 1,381,749 containers and trailers in October, up 4.9 percent year over year and the highest monthly total in history, AAR officials said in a press release. The weekly average of 276,350 containers and trailers also set a record and October became the 59th-straight month of year-over-year intermodal gains, they said. In 2014’s first 10 months, U.S. intermodal volume reached a record 11,459,079 units, up 5.5 percent versus the same 2013 period.

Excluding coal, U.S. carloads rose 4.7 percent in October. Excluding coal and grain, carloads increased 5.4 percent. Fifteen of 20 carload categories posted gains, led by petroleum and petroleum products at 20.7 percent, crushed stone, sand, and gravel at 10.4 percent, metallic ores at 11.4 percent and coal at 3.9 percent.

“America’s railroads are moving an enormous amount of freight today. In the first 10 months of 2014, total U.S. carload plus intermodal volume was 24.3 million units, which is over 1 million units more than in the first 10 months of 2013 and the highest year-to-date total since 2007,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray.

For the week ending Nov. 1, U.S. railroads originated 305,389 carloads, up 4.3 percent, and 279,819 intermodal units, up 5.9 percent year over year. Canadian railroads’ weekly carloads rose 4.4 percent to 86,893 and their intermodal volume climbed 10 percent to 60,312 units, while Mexican railroads’ carloads dropped 8.7 percent to 14,247, but their intermodal volume increased 6.7 percent to 10,632 units.

Through 2014’s first 44 weeks, 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads handled 17,068,124 carloads, up 3.2 percent, and 14,455,151 containers and trailers, up 5.7 percent compared with the same 2013 period.

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