The latest rail freight data shows continued weakness across the board. Intermodal traffic was off 10.2% versus last week, but was down just 12.8% on a year over year basis. Although this is a continued steep decline it is somewhat lower than the recent year over year figures we have been seeing. The AAR reports:
WASHINGTON, July 9, 2009 — The Association American Railroads today reported that freight traffic on U.S. railroads continues to parallel the nation’s overall economic condition, as traffic remained down year over year for the week ended July 4, 2009. U.S railroads reported originating 241,240 cars, down 15.6 percent compared with the same week in 2008. Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending July 4 was estimated at 25.7 billion ton-miles, off 14.3 percent from the same week last year.
Regionally, carloadings were down 11.1 percent in the West and 23.0 percent in the East. Intermodal volume of 169,290 trailers or containers was down 12.8 percent from the same week last year. Container volume fell 6.4 percent and trailer volume dropped 34.9 percent.
Eighteen of 19 carload freight commodity groups were down from last year, with declines ranging from 3.3 percent for coal to 72.4 percent for metallic ores. The lone group showing an increase was grain-mill products, which was up 4.3 percent.
For the first 26 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 6,806,892 carloads, down 19.2 percent from 2008; 4,816,358 trailers or containers, down 16.8 percent, and total volume of an estimated 723.7 billion ton-miles, down 18.3 percent.
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.