October 4, 2013 8:00 AM, EDT
Intermodal Rail Traffic Rises 4.4% in Sept.
Bruce Harmon/Trans Pixs

Intermodal rail volume rose 4.4% in September from the same month a year ago, the Association of American Railroads reported Oct. 3. The three highest-volume intermodal weeks in history for U.S. railroads also occurred last month.

Traffic increased to 1.02 million trailers and containers, up 4.4% from September 2012, AAR said in its weekly report.

Eleven of the 20 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR posted increases, with motor vehicles and parts up 12% to 7,429 carloads for September. Petroleum and petroleum products were also up 10.4% to 4,825 carloads.

“The fact that rail carloads excluding coal and grain were up 4.9% in September, the biggest year-over-year monthly gain since last December, is a hopeful sign,” AAR Senior Vice President John Gray said in a statement.

For the week ending Sept. 28, intermodal volume rose 2.9% to 269,853 compared with the same week last year, according to AAR.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups tracked by AAR posted increases for the week ending Sept. 28. This was led by petroleum and petroleum products, which increased 14.3%. Commodities showing a decrease included grain, which fell 19.5%.

Since the beginning of the year, U.S. railroads moved 9.5 million intermodal containers and trailers, up 3.7% from last year. Carload traffic increased 1.2% to 20.5 million units.