U.S. Rail Traffic Hits A Speed Bump

Train Derail

U.S. rail traffic just slipped, with year over year growth slowing. Weaker traffic in coal, grain, construction materials, vehicles, and metal products were to blame.

Journal of Commerce:

For just the largest U.S.-owned railroads, new intermodal shipments fell to 196,257 loads last week from 210,914 a week earlier and were the lowest since Feb. 13.

Rail freight traffic has maintained most of its recent strength, especially in carloads of bulk materials and equipment. Yet carloadings also slowed some for the North American majors, to 372,270 units in the April 3 week from 383,109 in the week ending March 27. The latest carloads are the lowest since Feb. 20.

Despite the sequential declines, traffic remains well ahead of last year. Total North American carloads last week were up 11.2 per cent from the same week of the 2009 recession year, while intermodal was up 6 per cent. But the latest intermodal volume fell behind its year-to-date growth pace, while carloads continued to increase their year-to-year gains.

Perhaps this is an example of the kind of slowing rebound we’ll see from the U.S. as we progress through Q2.

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