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May 7, 2010 8:00 AM, EDT
Intermodal Traffic Continues to Improve
Tom Biery/Trans Pixs

Intermodal rail traffic continued its upward trend last week, rising 13.2% from the same week last year, the Association of American Railroads said.

Intermodal volume rose to 213,013 units, from 188,168 last year, AAR said in its weekly report Thursday.

Containers gained 15.2% to 180,339 units, while trailers gained 3.2% to 32,674 units for the week ended Saturday.

Freight rail traffic, which excludes intermodal traffic, rose 16.3% to 295,718 carloads, AAR said.

Total rail freight volume was estimated at 32.9 billion ton-miles, up 16.7% from last year but 6.5% below 2008.

Railroad volume is considered an important economic indicator. Intermodal traffic, which tends to be higher-valued merchandise than bulk commodities, uses trains for the long haul and trucks for the shorter distance at either end of the trip.