Econintersect: Week 51 of 2012 ending December 22 shows same week total rail traffic was slightly above 2011 levels according to data released by the Association of American Railroads (AAR).
- The carload portion of rail traffic showed same week traffic grew 0.9% (versus last week’s -3.9%).
- Excluding coal and grain (which are not an economic indicator), rail carloads expanded at 13.6% (last week +6.4%) same week year-over-year.
- Intermodal same week traffic expanded 10.2% (versus last week’s +8.0%)
- Total same week traffic rail traffic expanded 3.0% (versus last week’s -3.0%)
USA coal production is down 11.7% same week year-over-year (see below – data was not updated on government website from last week), and the cumulative effect on rail carloads continues to drag traffic down.
“Fifteen of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 71.5 percent; crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 29.5; and lumber and wood products, up 27.3 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included metallic ores, down 26.3 percent; and coal, down 11.1 percent.”
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||+0.9%||+10.2%||+1.8%|
|This week without coal and grain||13.6%|
|Year Cumulative to Date||-3.0%||3.4%||-2.2%|
[click on graph below to enlarge]
Current Rail Chart
Total (cumulative) year-to-date traffic is contracting year-over-year.
For the week ended December 15, 2012: