Friday, March 03, 2017

AAR: Rail Traffic increased in February

by Bill McBride on 3/03/2017 05:25:00 PM

From the Association of American Railroads (AAR) Rail Time Indicators. Graphs and excerpts reprinted with permission.

U.S. rail intermodal traffic in February 2017 was 1,068,439 containers and trailers, up 1.8% (19,350 units) over February 2016 and the best February ever for U.S. intermodal. U.S. rail carloads were 1,044,040 for the month, up 6.7% (65,141 carloads) over February 2016, thanks mainly to coal — coal carloads were up 19.2% (57,589 carloads) over last year.
Rail Traffic Click on graph for larger image.

This graph from the Rail Time Indicators report shows U.S. average weekly rail carloads (NSA).  Dark blue is 2017.

Rail carloads have been weak over the last decade due to the decline in coal shipments.
February 2017 wasn’t a great month for rail traffic, but it was a good month, at least relatively speaking. U.S. railroads originated 1,044,040 total carloads for the month, up 6.7%, or 65,141 carloads, over February 2016. It’s the fourth straight year-over-year carload increase and the biggest percentage carload increase since December 2014. ...
Rail TrafficThe second graph is for intermodal traffic (using intermodal or shipping containers):
U.S. rail intermodal volume in February 2017 was 1,068,439 containers and trailers, up 1.8% (19,350 units) over February 2016 and the highest-volume February ever for U.S. intermodal. In the first two months of 2017, U.S. intermodal volume was 2,089,507 units, down 0.04%, or 797 units, from 2016