Econintersect: Week 32 of 2012 ending 11 August 2012 shows same week total rail traffic the same as 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 1.2%.
Excluding coal and grain which is not an economic indicator, rail carloads expanded at 2.4% (last week 5.1%) same week year-over-year.
“Ten of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 44.4 percent; lumber and wood products, up 19.8 percent, and motor vehicles and equipment, up 19.2 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included metallic ores, down 22 percent, and iron and steel scrap, down 11.1 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.
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||-1.2%||3.2%||0.0%|
|This week without coal and grain||2.4%|
|Year Cumulative to Date||-2.5%||3.6%||-1.6%|
Current Rail Chart
Total (cumulative) year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.