Rail traffic slowed this week with intermodal posting a 3.1% year over year gain and carloads -2.3%. I’ve started using a 12 week moving average to bring it out to one full quarter. This moving average was down slightly to 4.9% on the week for intermodal. This is still consistent with an economy that is growing, albeit modestly. The AAR has more details on the weekly release:
“The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending September 8, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 272,301 carloads, down 2.3 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 214,517 trailers and containers, up 3.1 percent compared with the same week last year.
Eleven of the 20 carload commodity groups posted increases compared with the same week in 2011, with petroleum products, up 64.2 percent; farm products excluding grain, up 61.4 percent, and crushed stone, sand and gravel, up 15.2 percent. The groups showing a decrease in weekly traffic included iron and steel scrap, down 21.8 percent; metallic ores, down 16.7 percent, and waste and nonferrous scrap, down 15.1 percent.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 4 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 1.2 percent compared with the same week in 2011.
For the first 36 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,162,532 carloads, down 2.4 percent from the same point last year, and 8,441,310 trailers and containers, up 3.7 percent from last year.”