June 6, 2014 4:15 PM, EDT
Intermodal Rail Traffic Rises 8% in May
Bruce Fingerhood/Flickr

Intermodal rail volume for May rose 8% compared with the same time last year, the Association of American Railroads reported.

Intermodal volume rose to slightly above 1.05 million units in May, the 54st consecutive year-over-year monthly increase, AAR said.

“If you’re looking for a sign that the economy is shaking off its first-quarter lethargy, rail traffic in May could be that sign,” AAR Senior Vice President John Gray said in a statement.

“Crushed stone, steel, motor vehicles, lumber, chemicals— the list of commodities showing carload gains in May goes on and on. And intermodal continues to surge. All in all, there’s very little to dislike about May’s rail traffic figures.  We hope it really is a sign that the economy is beginning a period of solid growth,” Gray said.

Seventeen of the 20 categories tracked by AAR posted increases in May from the prior year, led by grain (29.7%).

Intermodal volume for the week ended May 31 increased 9.7% to 242,092 year-over-year, the rail trade group said.

For the first 22 weeks of the year, U.S. railroads moved 5.6 million intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.8% from 2013.