Thursday, May 13, 2010

U.S. Rail Traffic Sets New Record in April: All 19 Commodity Groups Increased vs. Last Year

From the Association of American Railroads (AAR) report released yesterday:

U.S. freight railroads saw a 15.8 percent rise in carloads during April 2010 compared with the same month last year (see charts above), and a decline of 11.5 percent compared with the same month in 2008.

According to AAR’s May 2010 Rail Time Indicators Report, all 19 major commodity categories saw higher carloads last month compared with the same month last year, marking a first since AAR’s data series began in 1989. U.S. rail intermodal traffic, which covers the movement of truck trailers and shipping containers by rail, was up 14.3 percent in April 2010 compared with the same month last year, but down 6.9 percent from the same month in 2008.

Commodities showing notable monthly carload gains in April 2010 included primary metal products, up 90.5 percent compared with April of 2009, and coal, up 7.1 percent compared with the same month last year. This is the first monthly gain in coal traffic since December of 2008.

"Last month’s favorable results come with a footnote that April 2009 was a particularly bad month for rail traffic,” said AAR Senior Vice President John Gray. "That said, rail traffic last month suggests the early phase of a broad based recovery is underway. Although the recovery may not be happening as quickly as we’d like, conditions are better today than they were even a few months ago."


5 Comments:

At 5/13/2010 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And U.S. diesel fuel consumption fell in April. Hmmm.

 
At 5/13/2010 12:47 PM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

Are present-day railroads the creative destruction of trucking --especially long haul trucking?

 
At 5/13/2010 3:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rail transport usually requires two trucks, one at each end. A lot of rail work is actually carrying trucks, so I don;t see the destruction of trucking.

The usual rule of thumb is you have to ship over 600 miles to make rail pay.

That rule does not apply to high cost goods, primarily becasue the average rail speed is below 25 mph.

Time is money and rail works well for some jobs, not for others.

Still makes a good economic indicator, thoough.

 
At 5/13/2010 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CSA 2010 trucking regulations are going to drive a lot of freight onto rail. I blame Warren Buffet.

 
At 5/14/2010 10:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CSA 2010 trucking regulations are going to drive a lot of freight onto rail. I blame Warren Buffet.

Interesting. I don't doubt it.

Please explain.

 

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