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There’s no denying the rebound in rail freight on a year over year basis.  Rail traffic continued to climb this week as the AAR reports U.S. railroads originated 290K carloads during the week.  This was a 10.7% increase over last year, but still down 11.8% compared to 2008.  Intermodal traffic jumped 6.2%, but was down 9.4% compared to 2008.  While we’re certainly seeing a strong move over last year’s abysmal traffic trends the strength of the recovery is still somewhat in doubt as the comps to 2008 remain sharply negative.  Nonetheless, the trend higher remains firmly intact.

The AAR reports that 17 of the 19 commodity groups showed strength in this week’s data:

“Seventeen of 19 carload commodity groups showed gains from a year ago, with the largest coming from products associated with metals: metallic ores, up 104.2 percent; metals, up 84.1 percent; scrap, up 39.8 percent; and coke, up 30.3 percent. Other notable increases included motor vehicles and equipment, 21.3 percent; grain, 18 percent; primary forest products, 34.8 percent; lumber, 21.6 percent; and chemicals, 11.5 percent. Loadings of pulp, paper and allied products were off 5.1 percent.”

Source: AAR