Rail traffic appears to be gaining a little bit of momentum based on the latest readings from the AAR. Intermodal traffic came in at a very healthy 12.7% year over year. Traffic data has been volatile in recent weeks, however, the 4 week moving average has steadied in the high single digit area. If there is a slow-down in the US economy it’s certainly not showing up in this data. The AAR has the details:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported weekly rail traffic gains with U.S. railroads originating 293,798 carloads for the week ending April 9, 2011, up 1.8 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week was also up 12.4 percent compared with the same week last year, totaling 228,713 trailers and containers.Eleven of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases from the comparable week in 2010. Those groups posting significant increases included: metallic ores, up 59.2 percent; motor vehicles and equipment, up 28.9 percent, and grain, up 16.5 percent. The commodity groups reporting a notable drop in weekly traffic were primary forest products, down 33.2 percent, coke, down 16.7 percent, and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 12.8 percent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 0.3 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 3.3 percent compared with the same week in 2010.
For the first 14 weeks of 2011, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 4,067,747 carloads, up 4.8 percent from last year, and 3,084,940 trailers and containers, up 9.0 percent from the same point in 2010.”