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Week Ending 30 March 2013: Total Rail Traffic Drops

April 4th, 2013
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: Week 13 of 2013 ending March 23 shows same week total rail traffic falling 2012 levels according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR):

  • Four week rolling average is degrading (not normal for this time of year);
  • 13 week rolling average is improving (normal);
  • 52 week rolling average is degrading (not normal).

Follow up:

A summary of the data:

"Intermodal traffic in March 2013 totaled 933,208 containers and trailers, up 0.5 percent (4,859 units) compared with March 2012. That percentage increase represents the smallest year-over-year monthly gain for intermodal since August 2011.

Carloads originated in March 2013 totaled 1,117,427, down 0.5 percent (5,969 carloads) compared with the same month last year. While it was a decline, March had the lowest year-over-year monthly dip in carloads since January of 2012. Carloads excluding coal and grain were up 3.4 percent (19,965 carloads) in March 2013 over March 2012. Seven of the 20 major commodity categories tracked on a monthly basis by AAR saw year-over-year increases in March 2013 over March 2012.

Commodities with the biggest carload increases in March included petroleum and petroleum products, up 54.3 percent or 19,295 carloads; crushed stone, gravel and sand, up 11.9 percent or 8,380 carloads; motor vehicles and parts, up 6.1 percent or 4,127 carloads; and coke, up 11.4 percent or 1,550 carloads. Commodities with carload declines last month included grain, down 20.1 percent or 16,971 carloads; coal, down 2 percent or 8,963 carloads; metallic ores, down 13.2 percent or 2,908 carloads; and chemicals, down 1.3 percent or 1,581 carloads.

“U.S. rail traffic continues to mirror the overall economy:  not great, not terrible, anticipating a better future,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray.  “Petroleum and petroleum products continues to lead traffic gains, while coal and grain have seen better days.  Intermodal volume in March was up just 0.5 percent over last year, but it was still the highest-volume March in history and built on even stronger gains earlier in the quarter.”

AAR today also reported declines in rail traffic for the week ending March 30, 2013.  U.S. railroads originated 281,367 carloads last week, down 1.9 percent compared with the same week last year, while intermodal volume for the week totaled 233,587 units, down 3.8 percent compared with the same week last year.  Total U.S. traffic for the week ending March 30 was 514,954 carloads and intermodal units, down 2.8 percent over the same week last year.

Three of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, led by petroleum products, up 55.6 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic were led by grain, down 27.4 percent.

USA coal production is down 1.2% same week year-over-year, and the cumulative effect on rail carloads continues to diminish.

This Week
Carloads Intermodal Total
This week Year-over-Year -1.9% -3.8% -2.8%
Ignoring coal and grain 6.2%
Year Cumulative to Date -3.0% 5.3% 0.7%

[click on graph below to enlarge]

Current Rail Chart

/images/z rail1.pn

From EIA.gov:

For the week ended March 30, 2013:

  • U.S. coal production totaled approximately 18.7 million short tons (mmst)
  • This production estimate is 1.1 percent higher than last week's estimate and 1.2 percent lower than the production estimate in the comparable week in 2012
  • Coal production east of the Mississippi River totaled 8.4 mmst
  • Coal production west of the Mississippi River totaled 10.2 mmst
  • U.S. year-to-date coal production totaled 240.3 mmst, 9.3 percent lower than the comparable year-to-date coal production in 2012
  •  

    Source: AAR









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