Monday, May 10, 2010

Rail and Trucking Freight Traffic Continue to Boom

1. The Association of American Railroads reported last week that the growth in rail freight traffic continued during the week ended May 1, as all 19 carload freight commodities and both intermodal categories were up from a year ago for the second consecutive week. U.S. railroads originated 295,718 carloads during the week ended May 1, up 16.3 percent from the comparable week in 2009.

Intermodal traffic was up 13.2 percent from last year but down 5.4 percent compared with 2008. Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 15.2 percent while trailer volume gained 3.2 percent. Total volume was estimated at 32.9 billion ton-miles, up 16.7 percent from last year.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 17 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 6,229,078 carloads, up 8.2 percent from last year, and 4,328,397 trailers and containers, up 10.2 percent from last year.

2. The American Trucking Associations’ seasonally adjusted (SA) Truck Tonnage Index increased 0.4% in March, following a revised 0.3% decrease in February. The latest improvement put the SA index at 109.2, the highest level since November 2008.

Compared with March 2009, tonnage jumped 7.5%, which was the 4th consecutive year-over-year gain and the largest increase since January 2005. For the first quarter of 2010, SA tonnage was up 4.9% compared with the same period last year.


At 5/10/2010 9:28 AM, Anonymous Dave Hayes said...

The railroads really kept their heads in this last recession. When traffic volumes tanked, they took advantage of the lull to make improvements. They also furloughed workers and occasionally brought them back to keep them current.

It seemed to me that they were more concerned about being ready for the return of traffic than with the temporary loss of it. UP spent $2.5 billion on capital improvements last year and will do so again this year. UP improved gross ton miles per employee 15% and gross ton milesper horsepower 5% from 2009 to 2010.

As a further indicators of where railroads are in the recovery, railway Age reports that CSX's furloughed crews are down to 1,093 from a peak of 2,533; out of service locomotives are down to 272 from a peak of 707; and out of service cars are down to 12,321 from a peak of 30,533. UP is lagging behind CSX with about half of its sidelined crews, locomotives and cars in service (but this may be due to the improvements mentioned above).

At 5/11/2010 5:11 PM, Blogger BxCapricorn said...

Boom? Seriously? The index is back to where it was in October of 2009, which was a month after September's credit "lock-down". I'm hoping for a recovery, and this stimulus plan where the future was conveniently borrowed to jump start the present, may have helped us reach the coveted "malaise" of the late 1970's....but "Boom"? Stagflation is going to really put a damper on this statistical "lovefest". Vegas rooms by the way, are booked solid, but they're selling upscale rooms at unbelievably low prices. I wouldn't call the booking rate some kind of "Room Renaissance" though, and invest in casino stocks.

At 5/12/2010 12:38 PM, Anonymous Eighty-eight said...

"Is this good news? Absolutely. But some caution is in order. Generally speaking, recent US rail traffic gains are consistent with an economy that is recovering at a MODERATE but not breathtaking pace. THERE'S A LONG WAY YET TO GO BEFORE ECONOMIC - AND RAIL - RECOVERY IS COMPLETE."

Same report. Caveats deliberately omitted by CD.

This does not sound like a V shaped recovery.


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