Weekly intermodal volumes hit 2010 highs for the second consecutive week, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) said today.
According to AAR, 236,400 trailers and containers moved in intermodal service during the week ending Aug. 21, up 22.4 percent from the same period in 2009. This marked a new weekly high for the year, surpassing the volumes carried during the week ending Aug. 14, AAR said.
Weekly container volume was the highest on record, with an increase of 24.2 percent from the same period in 2009 and 11.5 percent ahead of the same week in 2008. Trailer volume, the other subset of intermodal, rose 12.4 percent last week compared with the same week in 2009 but fell 30.5 percent compared with 2008 totals, AAR said.
In an indication of the strength of demand for intermodal traffic, railcar manufacturer The Greenbrier Companies said Wednesday that it has received orders for more than 1,000 new railcars capable of handling "double-stacked" 53-foot containers as well as an order to extend 1,100 existing cars to 53 feet from smaller dimensions. Double-stack cars transport various sizes of containers stacked two high.
Greenbrier said the orders are from five separate customers representing major North American railroad and railcar leasing companies. Greenbrier would not identify the customers.
The railcar manufacturer also said there remains a "growing need" for 53-foot double-stack car capacity in North America, a contrast with the continued overcapacity of equipment capable of handling smaller containers. The longer containers allow railroads to better compete with the longer and heavier trucks on the nation's highways. Greenbrier said it is "adjusting its production to fulfill this growing demand."