According to the Associations of American Railroads 2012 carload volume was down 3.1 percent compared to 2011 and down less than 1 percent from 2010. The only other year U.S. rail carloads were lower than 2012 was in 2009 when it was impacted by the effects of the recession.
The AAR reported that intermodal volume was up 3.2 percent compared to 2011 and up 8 percent compared to 2010. The 2012 intermodal volume is the second highest on record, down only by 0.1 percent from the record high set in 2006. According to the AAR, a new annual record would have almost certainly been set in 2012 if it were not for the strike at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and/or Hurricane Sandy.