Week 24 US Freight Rail Traffic Rose with Canada’s, Mexico’s



US freight rail traffic

The Association of American Railroads has released its freight volume data for North American railroad companies for the 24th week of 2017, which ended on June 17, 2017.

In the week, total US rail traffic (BRK-B), including intermodal and carloads, expanded 5.2% YoY (year-over-year) to over 543,000 railcars, up from over 516,000 railcars in the week ended June 18, 2016.

US railcar volumes excluding intermodal volumes rose 6.2% in week 24 to over 266,000 railcars, compared to ~251,000 railcars in the comparable week of 2016. In the week ended June 17, 2017, US intermodal volumes rose 4.3% to ~277,000 units, compared to over 265,000 units in the week ended June 18, 2016.

For a detailed comparison of this week’s freight rail statistics with last week’s, you can visit Market Realist’s Week 23: US Freight Rail Traffic Moving on the Right Track.

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Rising and falling commodity groups

In week 24, six of the ten carload commodity groups reported YoY (year-over-year) rises. The main groups with higher volumes were nonmetallic minerals, coal, and chemicals. 

The commodity groups with lower volumes in the reported week were petroleum and petroleum products (UNG), motor vehicles and parts, and grain.

Cumulative data for the first 24 weeks

In the first 24 weeks of 2017, US railroad companies booked a cumulative total of 6,166,000 carloads, 6.8% higher compared to the same in 2016. Intermodal units came in at 6,335,000 in the first 24 weeks of 2017, indicating a 2.5% rise compared to the same period in 2016. Total US traffic, including railcars and intermodal traffic, was 12,501,000 units for the first 24 weeks of 2017, a rise of 4.6% YoY.

Over the last few weeks, Canadian railroad companies’ freight volumes have been rising in the double digits. In week 24, Canadian rail traffic (CNI) rose 17.1% YoY to nearly 79,000 railcars, while Canadian intermodal traffic rose 17.8% to ~68,000 units. 

Also bucking the negative trend in volumes in the last few weeks, Mexican railroad companies (KSU) witnessed a 6.4% jump in railcar traffic and a 10% rise in intermodal traffic in week 24.

Next, we’ll assess Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) carloads in the week ended June 17, 2017.


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