Traffic Rises 8%: Could US Freight Rail Pick up in 2017?
US freight rail traffic
Every week, the AAR (Association of American Railroads) publishes the North American freight rail data for the previous week. The latest is for the week ended January 21, 2017. During this week, US rail traffic (UNP) rose 8.2% to over 530,000 units from over 490,000 units in the week ended January 23, 2016. If you want to compare this week’s freight volume data with that of the previous week, read A Carload of Freight Rail Traffic Data: The Week Ended January 14.
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In the week ended January 21, 2017, US carloads rose 10.7% to over 262,000 railcars, from ~237,000 railcars in the week ended January 23, 2016. Intermodal volumes also rose, to ~268,000 from ~253,000 units during the same period last year.
AAR’s outlook for 2017
AAR president and CEO Edward R. Hamberger stated that “we remain focused on providing the best possible rail network for our customers and all Americans.” He added that “as a result, the freight rail industry will advocate for a simpler and fairer tax code to enhance U.S economic development, promote growth and reduce debt. Freight railroads will also push for a sustainable funding source that provides for aggressive investment in public infrastructure.”
Canadian and Mexican rail traffic
In the latest reported week, Canadian rail traffic (CNI) rose 16.2%, while intermodal traffic rose 7.2%. Mexican railroads’ (KSU) carloads fell 4.5% during the week ended January 21, 2017, and intermodal traffic fell ~1%.
Investors interested in ETFs could opt for the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG). All US Class I railroads (NSC) are included in VIG’s portfolio holdings. Continue to the next part for a look at Norfolk Southern’s carloads for the week ended January 21, 2017.