Rail traffic was a bit mixed for the week with carloads declining -2% and intermodal traffic jumping 3.3%. The AAR also reported monthly traffic this week with total carloads declining 1% for the month of July. The AAR provides more details:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed results for July monthly rail traffic compared with the same month last year, with U.S. railroads originating 1,111,682 carloads, down 1 percent, and 895,649 trailers and containers, up 1.3 percent. Detailed monthly data charts and tables will be made available in the AAR’s Rail Time Indicators report to be released tomorrow.
For July 2011, 12 of the 20 carload commodity categories saw increases compared with July 2010. The largest gains were in iron and steel scrap, up 32.9 percent or 4,623 carloads; metallic ores, up 22.4 percent or 6,999 carloads; and primary metal products, up 9.5 percent or 3,438 carloads. Coal had the largest decline this month, down 7.3 percent or 37,330 carloads, from July 2010. Excluding coal, U.S. rail carloads in July 2011 were up 4.3 percent over July 2010.
Railroads continued to add employees at a rate faster than most U.S. industries, with 1,818 new employees added during June. Total industry employment was up 5.2 percent, 7,813 employees, in June 2011 compared with June 2010. As of Aug. 1, 2011, 276,943 freight cars were in storage, up 707 cars from July 1 and equal to 18.2 percent of the North American fleet.
In addition to monthly traffic, today AAR also reported mixed results in weekly rail traffic, with U.S. railroads originating 292,812 carloads for the week ending July 30, 2011, down 2.0 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 240,525 trailers and containers, up 3.3 percent compared with the same week last year. This week’s intermodal total was the highest volume in 2011.
Eleven of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases from the comparable week in 2010, including: iron and steel scrap, up 40.1 percent; metallic ores, up 21.2 percent; and lumber and wood products, up 18.3 percent. Groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included: waste and nonferrous scrap, down 17.7 percent; nonmetallic minerals, down 12.6 percent; and grain, down 9.0 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.