Saturday, February 04, 2012

AAR: Rail Traffic increased 0.1 percent YoY in January

by Bill McBride on 2/04/2012 05:47:00 PM

Earlier:
Summary for Week ending February 3rd
Schedule for Week of February 5th

From the Association of American Railroads (AAR): AAR Reports Gains for January Rail Traffic

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported that total U.S. rail carloads originated in January 2012 totaled 1,144,800, an average of 286,200 per week and up 0.1 percent over January 2011. Intermodal volume in January 2012 was 877,637 containers and trailers, up 1.7 percent over January 2011. January’s average of 219,409 intermodal units per week was the third highest ever for a January for U.S. railroads.
...
“Total rail carload traffic in January was flat compared with last year, due largely to sharp declines in coal and grain traffic,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray. “However, a number of other commodity categories — including many that have historically been much more highly correlated with GDP growth than coal and grain—saw large increases in January. That’s a sign that the underlying economy is probably stronger than you would think if you just looked at the rail traffic totals.”
Rail Traffic Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows U.S. average weekly rail carloads (NSA).
On a non-seasonally adjusted basis, total U.S. rail carloads in January 2012 totaled 1,144,800, an average of 286,200 per week and up 0.1% over January 2011.
Rail carload traffic collapsed in November 2008, and now, 2 1/2 years into the recovery, carload traffic is still not half way back to the pre-recession levels.

The second graph is for intermodal traffic (using intermodal or shipping containers):

Rail TrafficGraphs reprinted with permission.

Intermodal traffic is close to the peak year in 2006.
U.S. rail intermodal volume in January 2012 was 877,637 containers and trailers, up 1.7% over January 2011. January’s average of 219,409 intermodal units per week was the third highest ever for a January for U.S. railroads.

All Current Transportation graphs

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