Rail traffic trends continue to weaken as this week’s intermodal traffic report came in at 3.8% year over year growth. This is up slightly from last week’s reading of 2.5%, but brings the 3 month moving average down to 3.8% from 4%. I continue to see this as being consistent with an economy that is growing, but only marginally. Here’s more from the AAR:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending October 6, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 283,440 carloads, down 6.3 per cent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 251,113 trailers and containers, up 3.8 per cent compared with the same week last year.
10 of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 46.1 per cent; farm products excluding grain, up 30 per cent, and lumber and wood products, up 11.2 per cent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included coal, down 18.1 per cent; iron and steel scrap, down 17.9 per cent, and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 11.5 per cent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 7.9 per cent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 5.3 per cent compared with the same week in 2011.
For the first 40 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,325,845 carloads, down 2.6 per cent from the same point last year, and 9,462,377 trailers and containers, up 3.7 per cent from last year.”