Week Ending 03March2012: Rail Volumes Continue to Contract

March 8th, 2012
in econ_news

Econintersect: Week 9 of 2012 ending 03 March 2012 shows rail traffic continued to contract over 2011 levels according to data released by the American Association of Railroads (AAR).

“If you exclude carloads of coal and grain, which are down for reasons that have little to do with the state of the economy, rail traffic in February was encouraging,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray.  “Intermodal traffic was up for the 27th straight month, while carloads of a wide range of commodities—lumber, chemicals, petroleum, paper, steel and more—saw increases in February. Time will tell, but we’re hopeful it’s a sign of broad-based improvement in economic conditions.” 

The pattern in the data is the same as it has been for several weeks.  The majority of the reason for the contraction is coal movements - which should only effect the profitability of railroads, and not really an economic indicator as coal is an alternative fuel.  Intermodal which was done in previous weeks, is now expanding year-over-year.

Follow up:

Week 9 2012 Carloads Intermodal Total
This week Year-over-Year -6.2% 6.0% -5.3%
This week without coal
Year Cumulative to Date -1.0% 2.1% -0.1%



Note that the total year-to-date traffic are now contracting year-over-year.

Steven Hansen

Source: AAR

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