US rail traffic
Every week, the AAR (Association of American Railroads) publishes the North American freight rail data for the previous week. The latest data are for the week ended October 8, 2016.
During this week, total US rail traffic (UNP) fell 6.2% to ~522,000 units, compared to nearly 556,000 units in the week ended October 10, 2015. You can compare this week’s rail data to the previous week’s by reading How Freight Rail Traffic Stacked Up in the Week Ended October 1.
In the reported week of 2016, US carloads fell 5.9% to 264,000 railcars, compared to ~281,000 railcars in the corresponding week of 2015. Even intermodal volumes fell 6.4% to 258,000 units, compared to over 275,000 units in the same period last year.
Only two out of ten commodity groups posted gains in the week ended October 8, 2016. These were grains and motor vehicles and parts. The prominent laggards were petroleum and petroleum products, nonmetallic minerals, and coal.
Canadian and Mexican rail traffic
In the latest reported week, Canadian rail traffic (CNI) rose 6.7%. However, intermodal traffic fell a marginal 1.2% in the week ended October 8, 2016. The carloads of Mexican railroads (KSU) fell 4% in the week. Even intermodal traffic registered a fall of 1.8% in the week.
Thirteen freight rail companies submit weekly data to the AAR. These carriers handle about 95% of total US and Canadian freight traffic. Class I railroad companies (BRK-B) account for the lion’s share of freight rail movement.
Investors interested in dividend ETFs can opt for the Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG). All US Class I railroad companies make up part of the portfolio holdings of VIG.
For more information on major US railroad stocks, visit Market Realist’s Railroads page.
In this series, we’ll take a look at all Class I railroad companies’ total volumes for the week ended October 8, 2016.