Rail Week Ending 14July2012: Moderate Growth In Carloads

July 19th, 2012
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: Week 28 of 2012 ending 14 July 2012 shows same week total rail traffic grew 2.5% over 2011 levels according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).  The carload portion of rail traffic showed same week  traffic grew at 1.7%.

Excluding coal and grain which is not an economic indicator, rail carloads expanded 2.0% (last week's reported 3.8%) same week year-over-year.

“Ten of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with motor vehicles and equipment, up 46.6 percent; petroleum products, up 39.2 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 13.3 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included iron and steel scrap, down 25 percent; metallic ores, down 14 percent, and farm products excluding grain, down 13.5 percent.

Follow up:

A good background article on the switch of the power generating plants from coal to natural gas was published 30May2012 in the NYT. The week before GEI News had reported on the decline in coal usage over the past year. For background why Econintersect added grain, please see June 2012 Rail Movements: A Good Month.

The majority of the reason for rail year-to-date contraction is coal and grain movements - which would only effect the profitability of railroads, and not an economic indicator as coal is an alternative fuel to oil and natural gas - U.S. production of those are up sharply in recent months.


This Week
Carloads Intermodal Total
This week Year-over-Year -1.7% 6.8% 2.5%
This week without coal and grain
Year Cumulative to Date -2.6% 3.5% -1.8%


Current Rail Chart


Total (cumulative) year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.

Steven Hansen

Source: AAR

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