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Week 13: US Freight Rail Volumes on a Growth Trajectory

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Week 13: US Freight Rail Volumes on a Growth Trajectory PART 1 OF 15

US Freight Rail Volumes Surge—Is a Recovery in Sight?

US freight rail volumes

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 1, 2017, or the 13th week of the year. The 13th week also marks the end of 1Q17, and the cumulative data for the first 13 weeks could offer some valuable insights.

US Freight Rail Volumes Surge—Is a Recovery in Sight?

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The total US carload traffic for the first 13 weeks of 2017 reached ~3.3 million carloads, a rise of 5.7% compared to the same point in 2016. However, intermodal traffic was up 1.4% from its 2016 levels.

The total combined US traffic for the first 13 weeks of 2017 reached more than 6.7 million carloads and intermodal units, representing a rise of 3.5% compared to this time last year.

If you want to compare this week’s freight volume data with the previous week’s reports, please check out Market Realist’s Week 12: North American Freight Rail Traffic on the Fast Track.

Week 13 US freight rail volumes

In the 13th week of 2017, US rail traffic (BRK-B) rose 7.4% YoY (year-over-year) to ~528,000 railcars, compared to nearly 492,000 railcars in the week ended April 2, 2016.

US freight rail volumes were in the fast lane. US carloads rose 9.1% YoY to ~260,000 railcars, compared to over 238,000 railcars in the week ended April 2, 2016.

US intermodal volumes rose a marginal 5.5% to ~268,000 units, compared to 254,000 units during the corresponding period in 2016.

Canadian and Mexican rail traffic

Canadian rail traffic (CNI) rose 8.4% YoY to nearly 61,000 railcars, while Canadian intermodal traffic rose 17% to settle at nearly 46,000 units. For Mexican rail traffic (KSU), carloads reported a rise of 21.2% YoY during the week ended April 1, 2017, and intermodal traffic rose 0.1% YoY during the same week.

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

In this series

In this series, we’ll take stock of freight rail volumes in the US. We’ll also examine the freight rail volumes for major Canadian railroads.

Continue to the next article for a look at Norfolk Southern’s carloads for the week ended April 1, 2017.

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