It looks like the weakness in trucking is leading to strength in rails. According to the AAR yesterday, this was another record week in terms of traffic:
The Association of American Railroads (AAR) today reported that U.S. railroads saw the highest weekly intermodal volume for 2010 and highest container count on record for the second consecutive week. For the week ending Sept. 25, 2010, intermodal traffic on U.S. railroads totaled 241,167 trailers and containers, up 17.3 percent from the same week in 2009, but down 2.1 percent compared with 2008. Container volume last week increased 19.2 percent compared with 2009, and rose 6 percent compared with 2008. Trailer volume last week rose 7 percent compared with 2009, but dropped 32.8 percent compared with 2008.U.S. railroads originated 300,908 carloads for the week, up 10.7 percent compared with the same week in 2009, but down 8.2 percent from the same week in 2008. In order to offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR reports 2010 weekly rail traffic with comparison weeks in both 2009 and 2008.
Seventeen of the 19 carload commodity groups increased from the comparable week in 2009 with only primary forest products, down 2.1 percent, and non-metallic minerals, down 1.5 percent, posting declines. Farm products excluding grain, up 63.9 percent, led those commodity groups with increases from 2009. Compared with 2008, fourteen commodity groups posted declines. Farm products excluding grain, up 22 percent, led the five commodity groups posting increases from 2008.
Weekly carload volume on Eastern railroads was up 10.4 percent from last year, but down 10.8 percent from 2008. In the West, weekly carload volume was up 10.9 percent from last year and down 6.3 percent from two years ago.
For the first 38 weeks of 2010, U.S. railroads reported cumulative volume of 10,828,835 carloads, up 7.2 percent from 2009, but down 12.3 percent from 2008, and 8,182,454 trailers or containers, up 14.7 percent from 2009, but down 4.7 percent from 2008.