As the election draws closer in the United States all eyes are on the economy and the “economic recovery”. The Association of American Railroads (AAR) provides weekly data on the amount of traffic reported by member railroads which is considered a key indicator of economic strength.
The AAR latest report noted mixed weekly rail traffic for the week ending May 19, 2012, with U.S. railroads originating 280,565 carloads, down 5 percent compared with the same week last year. Intermodal volume for the week totaled 241,664 trailers and containers, up 3.1 percent compared with the same week last year.
Coal traffic was reported down 16.1% due to decreased export demand and also the current low cost of Natural Gas.
The report noted that weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was down 4.5 percent compared with the same week last year. In the West, weekly carload volume was down 5.3 percent compared with the same week in 2011.
For the first 20 weeks of 2012, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 5,627,959 carloads, down 3.4 percent from the same point last year, and 4,595,071 trailers and containers, up 2.8 percent from last year.
Combined North American rail volume for the first 20 weeks of 2012 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 7,447,035 carloads, down 1.8 percent compared with the same point last year, and 5,778,615 trailers and containers, up 4.2 percent compared with last year.
It is expected that the current work stoppage on the Canadian Pacific Railroad will impact numbers beginning this week.