Few things have been as consistently bullish in recent months as the rail traffic data. Although the pace of the expansion has slowed recently we are still seeing very healthy numbers with double digit growth in intermodal traffic and container volume. For the first 45 weeks of 2010 total volume is up 7.2% compared to the same period in 2009 (via AAR):
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported that U.S. freight railroads continue to post weekly rail traffic gains over 2009 levels, originating 297,269 carloads for the week ending Nov. 13, 2010, up 5.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal traffic for the week totaled 232,888 trailers and containers, up 11.9 percent compared with the same week a year ago, with container volume up 12.8 percent and trailer volume up 7.5 percent.Sixteen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009, with significant gains in metallic ores, up 164.7 percent; coke, up 30.1 percent; and metals and products, up 23.9 percent. Commodity groups posting declines included nonmetallic minerals, down 19.2 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, down 14.8 percent; and primary forest products, down 6.2 percent.
Carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 2.4 percent compared with last year. In the West, carload volume was up 8 percent from the same week in 2009.
For the first 45 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 12,909,986 carloads, up 7.2 percent from last year, and 9,828,447 trailers or containers, up 14.5 percent from the comparison week in 2009.”