Rail Traffic: Still Growing, But...

The AAR reported another week of growth in rail traffic for the week ending December 18th, however, there were signs that the broad strength we’ve seen lately has begun to moderate some.  Intermodal traffic was up by 5% while carload traffic was flat versus the same period last year (via AAR):

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported that U.S. railroads posted moderate gains in weekly rail intermodal traffic for the week ending Dec. 18, 2010, originating 220,187 trailers and containers, up 5 per cent compared with the same week in 2009. Container volume increased 4.9 per cent and trailer volume was up 5.2 per cent. Rail carload traffic for the week totaled 271,709 carloads, flat when compared with the same week last year. The effects of blizzards throughout the Midwest were felt in weekly traffic numbers on U.S. railroads.”


Twelve of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009. Commodities posting double digit gains in loadings included: farm products excluding grain, up 46.5 per cent; metals and products, up 16.9 per cent; lumber and wood products, up 15.6 per cent; stone, clay and glass products, up 14.5 per cent; and coke, up 12 per cent. Commodities reporting double digit declines were non-metallic minerals, down 24.6 per cent; motor vehicles and equipment, down 17 per cent; and primary forest products, down 10.3 per cent.

Carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 11.8 per cent compared with last year. In the West, carload volume was up 7.9 per cent compared with the same week in 2009.

For the first 50 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 14,323,957 carloads, up 7 per cent from last year, and 10,938,193 trailers or containers, up 14.1 per cent from the comparison week in 2009.


This post previously appeared at PragCap >

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