Facts Still Do Not Justify Warren Buffett Fiction; Carloads Down 13.7% YoY, 18.2% Compared To 2007
The latest AAR data is out and it is far from justifying Buffett's optimism in railroad traffic. Carloads this week were down 13.7% over one year, and 18.2% lower compared to 2007. In the ever important western section (so conveniently served by Burlington Northern) the decline is even more pronounced at 14.3% YoY. Year to Date total carloads are down an expected 18%. Maybe Warren's thinking is comparable to Steve Liesman's: from here things can only get better. Of course, unless they don't.
The full weekly report from AAR, which provides the cutest attempt at optimistic spin in its subtitle.
AAR Reports Rail Traffic Remains Down
Increases Seen in Four of 19 Commodity Groups
WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 5, 2009 — The
Association of American Railroads today said that freight rail traffic
remains down for the week ended Oct. 31, 2009. U.S. railroads reported
originating 275,439 carloads for the week, down 13.7 percent compared
with the same week in 2008 and down 18.2 percent from 2007. In order to
offer a complete picture of the progress in rail traffic, AAR will be
reporting 2009 weekly rail traffic with year over comparisons for both
2008 and 2007 going forward.
In the West, carloads were down 14.3 percent compared with the same week last year, and 18.3 percent compared with 2007. In the East, carloads were down 12.9 percent compared with 2008, and 18.0 percent compared with the same week in 2007.
Intermodal traffic totaled 203,860 trailers and containers, down 11.1 percent from a year ago and 15.5 percent
from 2007. Compared with the same week in 2008, container volume fell
5.4 percent and trailer volume dropped 32.3 percent. Compared with the
same week in 2007, container volume fell 8.9 percent and trailer volume
dropped 38.6 percent.
While 15 of the 19 carload freight commodity groups were down
compared with the same week last year, increases were seen in grain
mill products (9.9 percent), chemicals (3.6 percent), and waste and
scrap metal (.7 percent and nonmetallic minerals (.3 percent). Declines
in commodity groups ranged from 2.2 percent for the all other carloads
category to 55.6 percent for metallic ores.
Total volume on U.S. railroads for the week ending Oct. 31, 2009
was estimated at 31 billion ton-miles, down 12.7 percent compared with
the same week last year and 13.2 percent from 2007.
For the first 43 weeks of 2009, U.S. railroads reported
cumulative volume of 11,482,619 carloads, down 17.9 percent from 2008
and 18.3 percent from 2007; 8,173,640 trailers or containers, down 16.2
percent from 2008 and 18.6 percent from 2007, and total volume of an
estimated 1.23 trillion ton-miles, down 17 percent from 2008 and 17.1
percent from 2007.
Canadian railroads reported volume of 71,023 cars for the week,
down 8.7 percent from last year, and 42,869 trailers or containers,
down 12.2 percent from 2008. For the first 43 weeks of 2009, Canadian
railroads reported cumulative volume of 2,656,713 carloads, down 21.1
percent from last year, and 1,763,759 trailers or containers, down 15.8
Mexican railroads reported originated volume of 12,952 cars,
down 17.2 percent from the same week last year, and 7,087 trailers or
containers, down .5 percent. Cumulative volume on Mexican railroads for
the first 43 weeks of 2009 was reported as 494,437 carloads, down 11.9
percent from last year; and 231,525 trailers or containers, down 17.2
Combined North American rail volume for the first 43 weeks of
2009 on 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled
14,633,769 carloads, down 18.3 percent from last year, and 10,168,924
trailers and containers, down 16.2 percent from last year.