Econintersect: Week 29 of 2012 ending 21 July 2012 shows same week total rail traffic contracted 1.2% over 2011 levels according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR). The carload portion of rail traffic showed same week traffic contracted at 1.9%.
Excluding coal and grain which is not an economic indicator, rail carloads expanded a statistically insignificant 0.1% (last week 2.0%) same week year-over-year.
“Seven of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 50.1 percent; food and kindred products, up 13.8 percent, and coke, up 10.6 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included iron and steel scrap, down 24.2 percent; grain, down 16.9 percent, and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 12.3 percent.”
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 Year-over-Year||-1.9%||6.2%||-1.2%|
|This week without coal and grain||0.1%|
|Year Cumulative to Date||-2.6%||3.6%||-1.8%|
Current Rail Chart
Total (cumulative) year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.