Intermodal volume hauled by major U.S. railroads rose 6 percent year-over-year in the week ending March 3, pushing intermodal traffic to the third highest ever in February, according to the Association of American Railroads.
Intermodal traffic on a week-to-week basis rose 5.9 percent. Total intermodal volume in February expanded 2.4 percent year-over-year, as domestic manufacturing expands and powers a U.S. economic recovery.
“Intermodal traffic was up for the 27th straight month, while carloads of a wide range of commodities—lumber, chemicals, petroleum, paper, steel and more—saw increases in February,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “Time will tell, but we’re hopeful it’s a sign of broad-based improvement in economic conditions.”
Carload traffic in the first week ending in March fell 6.2 percent year-over-year, as coal shipments plummeted 16.6 percent and grain traffic dropped 3.1 percent. Carload volume on a week-to-week basis was nearly flat.
A 10.6 percent decline in coal shipments in February helped push total monthly carload traffic down 1.9 percent year-over-year. A 7 percent drop in monthly grain traffic and an 8.5 percent decrease in nonmetallic mineral shipping also contributed to the decline.
However, shipments of motor vehicles and parts jumped 22.1 percent within the same period, while petroleum product shipments rose 28.7 percent, and steel and other primary metal product traffic surged 18.1 percent.