The trend in rail traffic remained strong in the month of November (via AAR):
- On an unadjusted basis, 14 of the 19 commodity categories saw carload gains in November 2010 compared with November 2009. Traffic gains in November were led by many of the same commodity categories that have paced rail traffic gains for a number of months, including coal (up 2.9%, or 14,690 carloads); metallic ores (up 86.0%, or 14,561 carloads); crushed stone, sand, and gravel (up 18.7%, or 10,122 carloads); and primary metal products (mainly steel, up 26.0%, or 6,717 carloads). The tables and charts beginning on page 5 have more commodity detail.
- On a seasonally adjusted basis, U.S. rail carloads were down 1.1% in November 2010 from October 2010 (see the top left chart on page 14). Seasonally-adjusted carloads on U.S. carriers have fallen (though by relatively small amounts) three of the past four months.
- Year-to-date carloads through week 47 in 2010 (the end of November) were 13.46 million, up 7.1% from the 12.57 million through week 47 in 2009.
- In November, U.S. railroads originated 883,755 intermodal trailers and containers, an average of 220,939 per week — up 11.3% over November 2009.
- Year-to-date U.S. intermodal traffic through the end of November was 10.25 million trailers and containers, up 14.3% from the 8.96 million through week 47 in 2009.
- Seasonally adjusted U.S. rail intermodal traffic was down 0.4% in November 2010 from October 2010, its third straight monthly decline. As with carloads, recent declines have been small.
- Combined U.S. carload and intermodal traffic has risen each month in 2010. The last time combined traffic had risen 11 straight months was January 2006.
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.