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April 5, 2013 9:15 AM, EDT
Intermodal Traffic Reaches Record for Month of March
Tom Biery/Trans Pixs

U.S. rail intermodal traffic fell 3.8% last week but posted the highest volume for the month of March on record, the Association of American Railroads said.

Traffic for the week ended Saturday fell to 233,587 trailers and containers.

March intermodal traffic rose 0.5% to 933,208 units over the same month last year.

While a relatively small comparative increase, the gain “was the highest-volume March in history and built on even stronger gains earlier in the quarter,” AAR Senior Vice President John Gray said in a statement.

Intermodal traffic rose 5.3% in the first quarter over the same period last year, to 3.1 million units, the rail trade group said.

Railroad carloads fell 1.9% to 281,367 units for the week and fell 0.5% to 1.1 million for the month.

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