Intermodal Continued to Grow in February

Intermodal traffic continues to grow at U.S. Railroads, the Association of American Railroads reported this week.

The railroads during February carried 1,104,001 containers and trailers, an increase of 6.9 percent over February 2017’s volume.

The AAR said that during February carload volume slipped 0.3 percent to 1,028,141 units.

For the month U.S. railroads reported a combined 2,132,142 carloads and intermodal units, marking a 3.3 percent increase over last year.

Nine of the 20 carload commodities that AAR tracks each month logged carload gains in February compared with the same month in 2017. Those included metallic ores, up 19.4 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel shipments, up 7.5 percent; and chemicals, up 3.4 percent.

Commodities that saw declines included coal, down 1.7 percent; grain, down 5.3 percent; and motor vehicles and parts, down 4.5 percent.

“Rail carloads in February, like in many other recent months, were held back by declines in coal, grain, and motor vehicles,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray in a news release. “Declines in those categories are unfortunate, but they don’t reflect general weakness in the economy. Excluding them, carloads were up a reasonably solid 2.1 percent in February.”

Gray said February was the best month ever for carloads of chemicals and the second best for intermodal volume.

“While these are good signs for the broader economy going forward, they are potentially compromised by the uncertainty created by recent developments in trade policy,” he said.

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