Staggering Loss in Carloads
July 27, 2020
In last week’s posting, we reviewed the latest full-month carload data as published in Railway Age. That data showed that total US carloads were down in May 2020 by approximately 27.7% from the same period last year. Two different sets of data were released last week which suggest to us that the economy is indeed rebounding somewhat;
· On July 29, the Association of American Railroads reported “Total carloads for the week ending July 25 were 215,171 carloads, down 17.8 percent compared with the same week in 2019”
· On July 30, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released the following: “Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 32.9 percent in the second quarter of 2020 (table 1), according to the “advance” estimate”
Here’s how we read this information:
– The GDP report closely tracks the overall May decline in rail carloads. While the GDP decline was greater in number they both are of the same order of magnitude, particularly when considering it is reasonable to expect a lag in the decline of shipments as business was adjusting to the slowing of the overall economy and business transactions.
– Yet, in late July the decline in total carloads has fallen (or you could say increased) to a decline of just 17.8%. That is a very significant difference from the May data.
So, is this good news? Yes, without a doubt. As the economy recovers, industries relying on rail need to be ready to respond accordingly. Please contact us if we can help with your railcar planning and fleet preparedness.
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