Intermodal freight volume hauled by U.S. railroads rose 3.1 percent in the week ending May 19, as containerized intermodal freight continued a steady ascent.
Intermodal shipments rose a cumulative 2.8 percent in the first 20 weeks of 2012, according to data released Thursday by the Association of American Railroads.
When Canadian and Mexican shipments are included, intermodal freight volume was up 4.4 percent in the week ending May 19 and 4.2 percent for the year to date.
Intermodal trains are likely being filled with more freight converted from over-the-road trucking as well as higher containerized import volumes at U.S. ports.
Containerized shipments, both domestic and international, were up 6.2 percent for all of North America to 274,027 units. Trailer volume dropped 9.7 percent.
Domestic intermodal container traffic leaped 14.9 percent in the first quarter, according to a recent report from the Intermodal Association of North America.
In comparison, U.S. carload traffic dropped 5 percent year-over-year to 280,565 carloads. Volume dropped 4.5 percent on Eastern rails and 5.3 percent in the West.
However, 12 of the 20 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR increased traffic year-over-year in the May 19 week, with petroleum volumes rising 49.4 percent.
Carload volumes of motor vehicles and equipment rose 23.3 percent from a year ago, and shipments of lumber and wood products increased 17.9 percent.
Weekly railroad carload traffic in nonmetallic materials dropped 16.3 percent, coal 16.1 percent and coke 8.6 percent, according to the AAR survey.