Rail Traffic Is Finishing 2012 With a Boom

Rail traffic is finishing 2012 in a big way.  This week’s rail traffic data marks the second consecutive week of big gains with a 10.2% reading in year over year intermodal gains.  This was an improvement over last week’s 8% gains and a big improvement over the 12 week moving average of 2.55%.   There’s some seasonal discrepancy in the data, but the longer view is still consistent with an economy that is growing at least marginally.

Here’s more via the AAR:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported gains for weekly rail traffic for the week ending December 22, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 290,223 carloads, up .9 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 240,119 trailers and containers, up 10.2 percent compared with the same week last year.

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.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 5.8 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 2.1 percent compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first 51 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 14,470,898 carloads, down 3 percent from the same point last year, and 12,111,536 trailers and containers, up 3.4 percent from last year.”

(Chart via Orcam Investment Research)


Got a comment or question about this post? Feel free to use the Ask Cullen section, leave a comment in the forum or send me a message on Twitter.

Cullen Roche

Mr. Roche is the Founder of Orcam Financial Group, LLC. Orcam is a financial services firm offering research, private advisory, institutional consulting and educational services.

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:

  • http://thebuttonwoodtree.wordpress.com Romeo Fayette

    Please note the pent up demand from LA/Long Beach port strikes. There was a void left in railtraffic by these strikes a few weeks ago, and now there’s been a couple outstanding prints this week & last week to make up for it. I’d say this report returns us to trend growth.

  • Ed

    There also is an effect from the Midwestern drought, as the Mississippi is at record-lows which has curtailed barge traffic, with a potential complete shutdown by Jan. 4.

  • http://www.nowandfutures.com bart

    The grand totals including intermodal are still solidly in a down trend.

    Watch out for export impacts on grain too, due to the extreme Mississippi low levels between St. Louis and Cairo.

  • witt

    can you back this data out? Is there any reason to believe this sort of “loophole” might have rampantly distorted data in the petroleum products or other categories?

  • witt