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March 8, 2007 3:30 PM, EST

Intermodal Traffic Climbs 8.6% for Week

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Rail intermodal levels rose 8.6% last week but carload traffic continued a downward trend in falling 5%, the Association of American Railroads said Thursday.Intermodal volume was 237,606 trailers and containers for the week ended Friday, the rail trade group said in its weekly report. Containers led the way with a 15.1% jump, while trailers fell by 9.5%.Total carload volume for the week was estimated at 32.9 billion ton-miles, down 3.2% from a year earlier.For the month of February, intermodal traffic rose 4.1% over last year, while carloads fell 4.2%, AAR said. The group pegged the carload decreases to bad weather and a slowing economy.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.