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 catchup 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.
As I have in the past, I’ll post the oil shipments data:
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 was huge gains in both intermodal and metals shipments last week. This strength goes to core economic activity in the US.