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Sunday, November 11, 2012

AAR: Rail Traffic "mixed" in October

by Calculated Risk on 11/11/2012 04:54:00 PM

From the Association of American Railroads (AAR): AAR Reports Mixed Rail Traffic for October

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reports U.S. rail traffic continues to show mixed results in monthly rail data, and that impacts from Hurricane Sandy can be seen in decreased traffic for week 44.

“The fundamentals of U.S. rail traffic remained roughly the same in October as in recent months: weakness in coal, remarkable growth in petroleum and petroleum products, a slight slowing of growth in intermodal and autos, and mixed results for everything else,” said AAR Senior Vice President John T. Gray.

Intermodal traffic in October saw an increase for the 35th straight month, totaling 1,233,475 containers and trailers, up 1.5 percent (18,710 units) compared with October of 2011. Carloads originated in October totaled 1,422,654 carloads, down 6.1 percent (92,601 carloads) compared with the same month last year. Carloads excluding coal were up 1.9 percent for the month, or 15,609 carloads, compared with the same month last year.
Rail Traffic Click on graph for larger image.

This graph shows U.S. average weekly rail carloads (NSA).
Total U.S. rail carload traffic fell 6.1% (92,601 carloads) to 1,422,654 in October 2012 from October 2011 on a non-seasonally adjusted basis (see charts below). That’s the largest year-over-year carload percentage decline since November 2009.

As was the case last month too, coal alone more than accounted for the total carload decline in October. Coal carloads were down 16.0% (108,210 carloads) in October 2012 from October 2011.
Hurricane Sandy negatively affected rail traffic in the last week of October in the East. As is always the case when bad weather affects rail traffic, some of the lost traffic will be made up, some will not, and it is not possible to precisely determine how much falls into each category.
The second graph is for intermodal traffic (using intermodal or shipping containers):

Rail TrafficGraphs reprinted with permission.

On Intermodal traffic:
U.S. rail intermodal traffic rose 1.5% (18,710 containers and trailers) in October 2012 over October 2011 to 1,233,475 units. That’s the 35th straight year-over-year monthly increase, though it was the smallest percentage gain in 14 months.
This is more evidence of sluggish growth.

Summary for Week Ending Nov 9th
Schedule for Week of Nov 11th