In last week’s posting we noted that on July 29, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) reported “Total carloads for the week ending July 25 were 215,171 carloads, down 17.8 percent compared with the same week in 2019”. Late last week, AAR noted that total carloads for the week that ended August 1st was down 18.3%.

It would have been nice to see this number improve a bit but as it is, we would call it “stable”. So, is this a stall in the improvement in the economy and our customers? It’s too early to tell for sure, but it might be. You could argue that “Well; this is the middle of summer when things are always slow”. However, this is in comparison to the same period last year. Time will tell for sure.

Another corresponding piece of information came in Monday, August 10th, when BNSF reported its second-quarter revenue fell 22%. Not a surprise given the information we’ve been publishing. But this slowdown is also providing some opportunities for smart shippers. We have been able to quote some very low 3-year leases on covered hoppers lately. Also, we have some very nice mill gons nearing their end of life at a good price, reflecting lots of value.

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