Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weekly Rail Traffic Continues to Improve

WASHINGTON, D.C. – "The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported that intermodal volume on U.S. freight railroads for the week ended June 19, 2010, reached its highest level since the 45th week of 2008.  Intermodal traffic totaled 227,985 trailers and containers, up 21.2 percent from last year but down .2 percent from 2008.

Compared with the same week in 2009, container volume increased 23.2 percent while trailer volume rose 10.5 percent. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume was up 8.8 percent while trailer volume fell 32.8 percent.

Combined North American rail volume for the first 24 weeks of 2010 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 8,837,265 carloads, up 10.3 percent from last year, and 6,225,829 trailers and containers, up 12.5 percent from last year."

MP: The weekly report on rail traffic shows promising signs of continued improvements in rail freight activity, with intermodal traffic far above last year's level by 21.2%, and almost back to the same level of traffic for Week 24 of 2008 (lower by only 0.20%).  Container volume is up both from the same week in 2008 (by 8.8%) and the same week in 2009 (by 23.2%).  Trailer volume is also above last year's level, but down by 33% from 2008.

Combined North American (Canada, U.S. and Mexico) rail activity is up by double-digit percent increases for carloads, trailers and containers. 


At 6/24/2010 1:53 PM, Anonymous morganovich said...

has anyone ever tried to correlate this to a broad measure of economic performance like GDP or manufacturing output? i'd be interested to see that.

how good an indicator is this? and how related to population growth is it?

At 6/24/2010 1:59 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Buffett's Favourite Indicator Points Down
18 June 2010

Watching the trains go by

The indicator in question is freight car loadings, which reflect the amount of goods transported over the US railway system. According to David Rosenberg, chief economist at asset manager Gluskin Sheff, the latest data for the week of June 5 shows a rate of decline over the past 13 weeks that would work out to 25% on an annual basis.

This is particularly troubling, since, as Rosenberg notes, "This metric is closely linked to the only [two] areas of the economy that have been major contributors to the recovery: Exports and inventories."

At 6/24/2010 2:02 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich, it's in the weekly Railfax report.

At 6/24/2010 2:07 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Shipments of waste and scrap have a 82% correlation with GDP.

Waste grew at a fast pace last quarter, although real GDP only expanded 3%.

At 6/24/2010 2:20 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

It looks like the Total North American Carloads Waste and Scrap Material category peaked around Apr 30th, which is when the $8,000 home buying tax credit expired.

At 6/24/2010 2:46 PM, Anonymous morganovich said...


i see the railfax report, but where does it show a correlation to GDP or some such.

i can't find that part. am i missing something?

At 6/24/2010 2:57 PM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

Morganovich, after you sign up, click open the email, and click the web link, click link under Recession Watch.

Also, I may add, I stated before, the only way this recovery will gain traction is when there's a homebuilding turnaround.

The timing and the strength of the turnaround are uncertain. We already squandered trillions of dollars creating massive government debt.

At 6/24/2010 3:51 PM, Anonymous morganovich said...



i see the subset analysis you are looking at now. it is interesting that we have nearly 2 months of decline in waste and scrap volume which the describe as most correlated to economic activity. it's also still about 20% off the highs from 2008-9 and back to about the level of q4 last year which would seem to indicate that if current levels persist, we'll see no year to year growth by the end of q3 (which seems quite possible to me on GDP as we face our first difficult annual comparisons.

At 6/25/2010 2:46 PM, Anonymous grant said...

You are right on the building pickup driving the economy.This is one of the problems that new,revived,or reserected industries are needed to try to cushion that effect.


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