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RAIL TRAFFIC CONTINUES TO SOFTEN

By Cullen Roche

Rail data continues to soften this week with carloads posting a -7.7% decline and intermodal posting just a 1.1% increase.  Coal continues to drag the index down substantially although broader trends have deteriorated as well with just 9 of the 20 segments posting gains.  The 10 week moving average in intermodal has now declined to 2.9% down substantially from the beginning of the year.   AAR has more on the data:

“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending April 7, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 270,974 carloads, down 7.7 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 231,153 trailers and containers, up 1.1 percent compared with the same week last year.

Nine of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 33.3 percent; primary forest products, up 11.8 percent, and stone, clay and glass products, up 11.2 percent. The groups showing a significant decrease in weekly traffic included iron, steel and scrap, down 18.1; grain, down 16.6, and coal, down 16.1 percent.

Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 5.2 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 9.3 percent compared with the same week in 2011.

For the first fourteen weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 3,950,064 carloads, down 2.9 percent from last year, and 3,159,598 trailers and containers, up 2.4 percent from last year.”

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