May 9, 2014 10:25 AM, EDT
Intermodal Rail Volume Rises for 53rd Consecutive Month
Mike Linksvayer/Flickr

Intermodal rail volume for April rose 9% compared with the same time last year, the 53rd consecutive year-over-year monthly increase, the Association of American Railroads reported.

Intermodal volume rose to 1.3 million units last month. The weekly average of intermodal units was the highest for any April and the second highest for any recorded month, AAR said.

“April was a good month for rail traffic, as carload and intermodal volume rebounded from disappointing winter months,” AAR Senior Vice President John Gray said in a statement.

“As is the case for a number of economic indicators that have shown recent improvement, the key question is how much of the rail traffic increase in April represents a catch-up from the winter and how much is a sign of stronger underlying growth. It’s probably some of both,” Gray said.

Fourteen of the 20 categories tracked by AAR posted increases in April from the prior year, led by grain (27.6%).

Intermodal volume for the week increased 8.8% to 267,369 year-over-year, the rail trade group said.

For the first 18 weeks of the year, U.S. railroads moved 4.5 million intermodal containers and trailers, up 5.3% from last year.

Earlier this week, the Intermodal Association of North America reported that intermodal volume in the first quarter rose 2.6% in spite of severe winter weather that slowed economic activity.

The trade group said shipments totaled 3.77 million, including virtually identical amounts of domestic and international freight.