Rail Traffic Posts Large Gains

Includes: IYT, USO
by: Todd Sullivan

Total N. American rail traffic came in at 729k carloads last week vs. 664k in 2013. This number is also impressive, as it gets us back to near the year-end high levels of 2013 which, if one glances at the chart below, is not the typical pattern. We typically do not see levels approaching the previous high levels until much later in the year.

Now, this could be catch-up from delayed shipments due to weather over the last few weeks, but I'm not convinced of that, as we've not seen anything like this before. The data over the next few weeks will answer that question.

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As I have in the past, I'll post the oil shipments data:

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While oil shipments continue to rise, they are in no way responsible for the overall strength we are seeing now. YOY oil by rail shipments are up 3k, while total traffic was up over 60k. So, yes, it is helping, but there is far more going on here. There were huge gains in both intermodal and metals shipments last week. This strength goes to core economic activity in the US.