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Week 15: US Freight Rail Traffic Rises: Are Good Times Ahead?

PART:
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Week 15: US Freight Rail Traffic Rises: Are Good Times Ahead? PART 1 OF 14

US Freight Rail Traffic: Intermodal Recovers, Carloads Rise

US freight rail traffic

Every week, the AAR (Association of American Railroads) publishes North American freight rail data for the previous week. The latest figures are for the week ended April 15, 2017, or the 15th week of 2017.

During that week, US rail traffic (BRK-B) rose 3.9% YoY (year-over-year) to ~519,000 railcars. That compares to nearly 500,000 railcars in the week ended April 16, 2016.

US Freight Rail Traffic: Intermodal Recovers, Carloads Rise

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US freight rail traffic volumes in the 15th week of 2017 were in the fast lane. US carloads rose 6.2% YoY to ~255,000 railcars compared to more than 240,000 railcars in the week ended April 16, 2016. US intermodal volumes rose a marginal 1.7% to ~264,000 units compared to 259,000 units during the corresponding period last year.

If you want to compare this week’s freight volume data with the previous week’s data, check out Market Realist’s Week 14: US Freight Rail Volumes on a Growth Trajectory.

Data from the first 15 weeks

Total US carload traffic for the first 15 weeks of 2017 was ~3.8 million carloads, a rise of 6.0% compared to the same period last year. Even intermodal traffic rose 1.7% from its 2016 level.

The total combined US traffic for the first 15 weeks of 2017 reached more than 7.7 million carloads and intermodal units, representing a rise of 3.8% compared to the same period last year.

Canadian and Mexican rail traffic

Canadian rail traffic (CNI) rose 18.2% YoY to nearly 84,000 railcars, while Canadian intermodal traffic rose 5.7% to settle at nearly 63,000 units. For Mexican rail traffic (KSU), carloads fell 12.0% YoY during the week ended April 15, 2017. Intermodal traffic fell 25.8% YoY that same week.

If you’re interested in related ETFs, you could opt for the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG). All US Class I railroad companies (NSC) are included in VIG’s portfolio.

Let’s move on to the next part of the series to look at Norfolk Southern’s carloads for the week ended April 15, 2017.

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