US Railroads Haul Most Containers Ever

US Railroads Haul Most Containers Ever

The top U.S.-owned freight railroads never before hauled as many intermodal containers as they did in the week ending Sept. 18, said the Association of American Railroads.

The AAR also said overall container and trailer hauls hit their strongest level of 2010 as intermodal loadings approach their autumn peak season. The activity follows a week that included the Labor Day holiday and could reflect some rebound after the shortened week, but it is also consistent with a rising volume trend for intermodal in recent months that so far shows no sign of ebbing.

By The Numbers: U.S. Intermodal Container Traffic.

Box shipment originations by major U.S. railroads reached 240,013 units in the latest week, 16.9 percent above the same week in 2009 and up 2.4 percent from the 2008 week, the AAR said.

That included 205,532 stackable containers for an 18.8 percent rise from the year-ago week, and 34,481 trailers on flatcars for a 6.5 percent year-over-year rise. For the first 37 weeks of 2010, container loadings are up 17.1 percent from 2009 at the U.S. lines reporting to the AAR, while trailer traffic is up 2.2 percent for a combined 14.6 percent rise in intermodal loadings.

When volume from major Canadian and Mexican carriers is included, along with the U.S. traffic of Canadian-owned railroads, the AAR said overall North American intermodal shipments by reporting lines last week were up 16.3 percent from a year earlier at 299,305 units. They are up 15.1 percent so far this year.

-- Contact John D. Boyd at jboyd@joc.com.