Warren Buffett is looking smarter by the day as rail traffic continues to make gains. For the week ending March 27th rails originated 293K carloads which was the highest level since November 2008. This was 16.5% higher versus 2009, but down 11.6% versus 2008. Intermodal traffic is also making a sharp rebound with a 12% year over year increase, but a 5.3% decline versus 2008.
The AAR reports that the breadth of the recovery in freight traffic has become quite broad:
“Eighteen of 19 carload commodity groups showed gains from a year ago, with 13 showing double digit percentage increases. Loadings of metals jumped 63 percent while waste and scrap gained 37.4 percent and metallic ores rose 36.1 percent. Other notable increases included motor vehicles and equipment, 28.5 percent; grain, 22.3 percent; coal 15.2 percent; and chemicals, 14.1 percent. The lone commodity showing a drop was pulp, paper and allied products, off 11 percent.”