North American Intermodal Volume at 42-Week High

North American intermodal volume for the week ending July 20 grew year-over-year for the third consecutive week, totaling 320,488 trailers and containers, the highest weekly volume since Sept. 29, 2012, according to the Association of American Railroads.

Combined North American carload volume, for the three North American Free Trade Agreement partners, dropped 2.7 percent from the same week in 2012 to 368,401 carloads, but inched up 0.2 percent from the week before. Total North American carload volume for 2013 year-to-date, at 10,718,714 carloads, is 0.5 percent less than in the same period of 2012.

North American intermodal volume for the week ending July 20 rose 2.4 percent from the prior week and was up 3.4 percent year-over-year. Total intermodal volume for the first 29 weeks of 2013, at 8,777,741 units, was 3.5 percent higher than the level seen in the same period in 2012.

U.S. carload volume in the week ending July 20, at 277,933 carloads, was down 3 percent year-over-year, but edged up 0.3 percent from the week before. U.S. intermodal volume showed an increase of roughly 3 percent year-over-year and a week-to-week rise of 2 percent to 253,424 trailers and containers.

“Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum and petroleum products, up 28 percent. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included grain, down 9.1 percent,” the AAR said in this week’s release.

Canadian carload volume for the week ending July 20 fell 3.2 percent year-over-year, to 74,216 carloads, also slipping 1 percent from the prior week. Canadian intermodal volume jumped 5.5 percent year-over-year to 56,104 trailers and containers and was up 3 percent week-to-week. This was the highest volume in this lane for the past 41 weeks.

Mexican carload traffic marked its 16th consecutive week of year-over-year growth, reaching 16,252 carloads, up 5.3 percent year-over-year, and up 4 percent week-to-week. Mexican intermodal traffic increased 5 percent year-over-year in the week ending July 20, bouncing back from its 5.3 percent year-over-year decline the week before. It also jumped 7 percent week-to-week, to 10,960 containers and trailers.