AAR reports increase in freight traffic for the week ending March 16th
The Association of American Railways (AAR) has reported an increase in traffic for the week ending March 16th, 2013, with total U.S. weekly carloads up 0.5 percent to 280,624 carloads compared with the same week last year.
Intermodal volume for the week totaled 228,806 units, up 0.7 percent compared with the same week last year.
Total U.S. traffic for the week was 509,430 carloads and intermodal units, up 0.6 percent compared with the same week last year.
Five of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, including petroleum products, up 58.3 percent, and motor vehicles and parts, up 15.6 percent. Commodities showing a decrease were led by grain, down 19.2 percent.
For the first eleven weeks of 2013, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,010,769 carloads, down 3.3 percent from the same point last year, and 2,615,688 intermodal units, up 6.6 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first eleven weeks of 2013 was 5,626,457 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.1 percent from last year.
Canadian railroads reported 79,664 carloads for the week, up 2 percent compared with the same week last year, and 49,896 intermodal units, up 8.1 percent compared with 2012. For the first eleven weeks of 2013, Canadian railroads reported cumulative volume of 848,579 carloads, up 2.4 percent from the same point last year, and 562,819 intermodal units, up 6.6 percent from last year.
Mexican railroads reported 15,955 carloads for the week, up 8.7 percent compared with the same week last year, and 8,583 intermodal units, down 10 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for the first eleven weeks of 2013 is 162,166 carloads, up 9.5 percent from the same point last year, and 102,949 intermodal units, up 3.8 percent from last year.
Combined North American rail volume for the eleven weeks of 2013 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 4,021,514 carloads, down 1.7 percent compared with the same point last year, and 3,281,456 trailers and containers, up 6.5 percent compared with last year.
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany