Econintersect: Week 42 of 2012 ending 20 October shows same week total rail traffic was below 2011 levels according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
- The carload portion of rail traffic showed same week traffic contracted 4.4% (versus last week’s -6.1%).
- Excluding coal and grain (which are not an economic indicator), rail carloads expanded at 3.6% (last week +4.1%) same week year-over-year.
- Intermodal same week traffic grew 3.5% (versus last week’s +2.6%)
- Total same week traffic rail traffic contracted 4.0% (versus last week’s -2.7%)
Regardless what was argued in the Presidental debates, USA coal production is down 11.1% same week year-over-year (see below).
“Seven of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with farm products excluding grain, up 87 percent; petroleum products, up 60.5 percent, and lumber and wood products, up 19.8 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included iron and steel scrap, down 25.5 percent; coal, down 13.9 percent, and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 13.2 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.
|This week Year-over-Year||-4.4%||3.5%||-4.0%|
|This week without coal and grain||3.6%|
|Year Cumulative to Date||-2.8%||3.7%||-1.9%|
Current Rail Chart
Total (cumulative) year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.
For the week ended October 20, 2012: