US rail traffic
Every Wednesday morning, the AAR (Association of American Railroads) releases weekly rail traffic data for the previous week. The latest report is for the week ended June 25, 2016.
During this week, the total US railcars went down to ~258,000 units, indicating a fall of 5.2% from 272,000 units in the week ended June 27, 2015. You can compare this week’s rail data with the previous week’s in North American Rail Traffic Saw a Single-Digit Slump Last Week.
In the reported week of 2016, US intermodal traffic also reported a fall of 2.7% to 268,000 plus units from ~276,000 units during the same period in 2015. On an overall basis, US total freight rail traffic in the week ended June 25, 2016, was down 3.9% compared with the same period last year.
Three out of ten carload commodity groups registered volume growth in the week ended June 25. Miscellaneous carloads rose 20.7%, and grains rose 16.5%. On the other hand, petroleum products fell 15.3%, coal fell 14.3%, and forest products fell 7.1%.
Canadian and Mexican rail traffic
In the latest reported week, Canadian rail traffic recorded a decline of 13.2% and 2.2% in carloads and intermodal, respectively, compared with the corresponding week last year. The carloads of Mexican railroads, however, recorded a surprise rise in the reported week of 2016. For the week ended June 25, 2016, the carloads of these railroads went up 2.1%. However, intermodal traffic fell by 4.9% in the same week.
North American freight traffic
There are 13 railroads that submit weekly data. These carriers handle about 95% of the total US and Canadian freight traffic. Class I railroads account for the lion’s share in freight rail movement. These railroads 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 of these US Class I railroads are part of the portfolio holdings of VIG. For more information on the US’s major railroad stocks, visit Market Realist’s railroads page.
In this series, we’ll take a look at all major US railroads’ rail traffic for the week ended June 25, 2016.