While there are some minor signs of broader economic slowing, it’s certainly not showing up in rail traffic data. This week’s traffic trends showed a continued improvement off the June lows. We’re not at a new 6 month high in the 12 week average rate of year over year growth. This week’s reading on intermodal came in at 4.3% which brings the 12 week average up to 4.2%.
(Chart via Orcam Research)
Here’s more from AAR:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported increased weekly rail traffic for the week ending October 19, 2013 with total U.S. weekly carloads of 289,256 carloads, up 0.2 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 264,687 units, up 4.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and up for the 16th straight week in a row. Total U.S. rail traffic for the week was 553,943 combined carloads and intermodal units, up 2.1 percent compared with the same week last year.
Eight of the 10 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2012, including petroleum and petroleum products with 13,644 carloads, up 15.5 percent; and grain, with 22,360 carloads, up 9.6 percent. Commodities showing a decrease compared with the same week last year included coal with 108,469 carloads, down 6.0 percent.
For the first 42 weeks of 2013, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 11,794,294 carloads, down 0.9 percent from the same point last year, and 10,339,870 intermodal units, up 3.7 percent from last year. Total U.S. traffic for the first 42 weeks of 2013 was 22,134,164 carloads and intermodal units, up 1.2 percent from last year.”