Freight services remain in high demand according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ latest release: “The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 2.0 percent in October from September, rising for the second consecutive month to reach a new all-time high…
The October 2018 index level (138.8) was 46.4 percent above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.”
Separately, the Association of American Railroads reports that U.S. rail traffic was up 3.1 percent over the first week of December compared to the same week in 2017. Intermodal traffic was comparatively up 5.7 percent. As truck driver availability has stagnated, this uptick in intermodal traffic underscores the importance of port to rail transport as a key logistic lynchpin for timely deliveries.
North American rail volume on 12 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 370,277 carloads, up 0.04 percent compared with the same week last year, and 395,454 intermodal units, up 5.4 percent compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 765,731 carloads and intermodal units, up 2.8 percent. North American rail volume for the first 49 weeks of 2018 was 35,888,446 carloads and intermodal units, up 3.3 percent compared with 2017, according to AAR.