December 7, 2012 11:00 AM, EST
Intermodal Traffic Drops 1.2%; Weekly Volume Hurt by Calif. Port Strike

U.S. rail intermodal traffic fell 1.2% for the week ended Saturday from the same week last year, due in part to the eight-day strike at the California ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that ended late Tuesday.

The two ports, which together handle about a third of U.S. container imports, closed 10 of 14 cargo terminals, stranding shipments as the year-end holidays approached, Bloomberg reported.

Intermodal container traffic for the week ended Saturday rose 0.3% to 207,915 units, but trailer traffic fell 8.8% to 33,496 units, the Association of American Railroads said.

Railroad carloads — excluding intermodal — fell 2% to 305,708 units, AAR said in its weekly report.

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.