Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oil Shipments by Rail Up, Coal Shipments Down

More evidence of the decline of coal....
RankCarload Commodity Group2012 YTD2011 YTD% Increase
1Petroleum Products129,25699,89029.4
2Motor Vehicles235,296199,72117.8
3Metallic Ores92,88479,99016.1
5Lumber and Wood45,59341,5179.8
6Stone, Clay and Glass105,34497,6947.8
7Crushed Stone, Sand, Gravel246,869229,2837.7
9Pulp and Paper91,55489,3902.4
10All Other Carloads69,62368,4301.7
11Iron and Steel Scrap73,34572,6750.9
12Forest Products22,63122,5560.3
13Waste and Nonferrous Scrap44,63644,5880.1
15Food Products97,09598,364-1.3
16Grain Mill Products142,419144,430-1.4
17Nonmetallic Minerals66,34769,873-5
18Coal 1,770,1571,983,041-10.7
20Farm Products12,02613,866-13.3

The table above shows the carload commodity group rankings for rail traffic through April 14 (week 15) of this year, according to data released today by the American Association of Railroads.  Note that Petroleum Products have experienced the biggest percentage increase in rail shipments over last year at 29.4%, followed by Motor Vehicles and Equipment at a 17.8% increase.  In contrast, coal shipments have decreased by 11.3% this year compared to last year, because of the shift from coal to natural gas for electricity generation.  

These new rail statistics support recent data from the EIA that: a) U.S. carloads of coal by rail during the first quarter of 2012 fell to the lowest level for any quarter since the beginning of 1994, and b) coal's share of monthly power generation in the United States dropped below 40% in November and December 2011 for the first time since March 1978, see recent CD post


At 4/19/2012 5:19 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I am a Brit but still follow US trends closely, and I've come to be quite interested in America's amazing new energy resources. One could really argue that nat gas is a fantastic bridge for the next 50 years until true renewables (instead of flaky ideas) are developed enough to be efficient on a mass scale. The nat gas fracking revolution is, of course why coal is down. I suspect no new coal fired electric plant will ever be built, and considering that coal is dirtier than Sasha Baron Cohen's mouth, that is a bloody good thing. These statistics on coal are just one example of the great impact of nat gas. It appears we in the UK also have huge unconventional nat gas resources as well, primarily offshore. The technology to exploit these resources is there for both of our countries, and as long as radical environmentalists do not get in the way, a revolution is hand. One hopes that 10-20 years from now, new cars will increasingly be running on nat gas. Do not count the Anglo-Saxons out just yet you bloody declinists!
real asset investment

At 4/19/2012 10:47 PM, Blogger juandos said...

That's NOT a good sign regarding the drop off coal...

Its a sign that government interference and regulation have gone to far which also means there are impacts on other sectors of the economy...

Anthracite coal Bituminous coal have higher energy densities than natural gas which make it more practical for heat generation needed in power plants and steel mills...

My question is about the price of natural gas, is it so low now that even its relatively speaking lower energy density still makes it a better buy than coal?

At 4/20/2012 2:33 PM, Blogger Junkyard_hawg1985 said...

Wow, oil transportation by rail is up 30% since last year. Wouldn't it be great if we had a technology that would allow us to move a lot of oil without putting it in a railcar - at least one that the Obama administration wouldn't block.

At 4/20/2012 3:49 PM, Blogger Junkyard_hawg1985 said...

Petroleum products by rail up 29%. If only we had some magic technology that could pump these products from one location to another without the waste of railcars - at least one that would not be blocked by the Obama administration.

At 4/20/2012 5:50 PM, Blogger james said...

Forget coal and oil stocks. Take a look at solar stocks. I just recently noticed that solar energy stocks are down by 90% over the last five years. What a amazing buying opportunity.

At 4/21/2012 10:48 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"I just recently noticed that solar energy stocks are down by 90% over the last five years. What a amazing buying opportunity"...

Well james rumor has it that there are still berths on the Titanic for sale too...

At 4/21/2012 9:25 PM, Blogger Mkelley said...

When I read this about coal and see train loads of wind mills going by, I see higher utility bills in my future.


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