North American rail shipments of intermodal containers and trailers threw off a slowdown in the final week of July, rising 3.4 percent to a new volume peak so far in 2011 of 301,393 units.
Box loadings by the continent’s major railroads earlier set a 2011 peak at 295,891 units in the week ending June 11, then shrank the rest of that month and stayed below average June levels for most of July.
But volume for the week ending July 30 was 1.9 percent above that early June high, for a gain of 5,502 box shipments, according to figures from the Association of American Railroads for activity by Class I and large regional carriers.
By the Numbers: U.S. Intermodal Container Traffic
Rail industry officials have said the six-week slump was mainly from slack containerized imports from Asia, while domestic loadings remained strong. However, the decline was evident in domestic trailers hauled by railroads as well as containers.
Last week, intermodal container loadings rose 3.2 percent from the July 23 week, to a new year-to-date high of 265,949. Trailer loadings jumped 5.3 percent week to week to 35, 444, but that was still slightly below a mid-June peak in trailers.
Until late July, the intermodal slowdown hit harder at major U.S. railroads that generate the largest industry segment. But they also grew faster in the month’s final week, with a 3.6 percent gain to 240,525 intermodal units.
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