The US rail traffic
Every Wednesday morning, the AAR (Association of American Railroads) releases the weekly rail traffic data for the previous week. The latest report is for the week ended June 18, 2016.
During this week, the total number of US railcars was ~251,000 units, indicating a fall of 8.5% from 274,000 units in the week ended June 20, 2015. You can compare this week’s rail data with the earlier week’s data by reading A Mixed Delivery for North American Railways.
In the week ended June 18, 2016, US intermodal traffic also reported a fall of 4.2% to 265,000 plus units, compared to over 277,000 units during the same period in 2015. Overall, total US freight rail traffic fell by 6.3% in the week ended June 18 compared to the same period last year.
Three out of ten carload commodity groups registered volume growth in the week ended June 18, 2016. In the order of their rises, grain carloads rose by 24.3%, miscellaneous carloads rose by 16.8%, and motor vehicles also rose.
The commodity groups that posted falls in the reported week were petroleum products at -24.8%, coal at -20.6%, and metallic ores and metals at -8.9%.
Canadian and Mexican rail traffic
In the latest reported week, Canadian rail traffic recorded 13.2% and 7.9% falls in carloads and intermodal traffic, respectively, compared to the corresponding week last year.
Mexican railroad companies, too, posted falls in the week. Carloads fell by 4.1%, and intermodal traffic fell by 7.9%.
North American rail traffic
There are 13 railroad companies that submit weekly data. These carriers handle about 95% of total US and Canadian freight traffic. Class I railroad companies account for the lion’s share of freight rail movement. These companies are BNSF Railway (BRK-B), Union Pacific (UNP), Norfolk Southern (NSC), CSX Corporation (CSX), Kansas City Southern, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP), and Canadian National Railway (CNI).
Investors interested in dividend ETFs can opt for the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG). All US Class I railroad companies are part of VIG’s portfolio holdings.
For more information on major US railroad stocks, you can visit Market Realist’s Railroads page.
In this series, we’ll take a look at all major US rail companies’ traffic for the week ended June 18, 2016.