It is always good to bring positive developments, and it is nice to see that AAR has just reported rail traffic for the week ending March 6th as up as compared to last year. Strongly indicating that the recent decline in rail carload traffic was in fact attributable to weather impacts, the report indicates that carload traffic increased year-over-year for the week by 1.1%, as compared to a decline of 8.5% for the week ending Feb. 27th. Hopefully, this is a sign of continuing improvement in the economy since as of March 2020, the pandemic had not yet fully impacted the economy.

For this same week, intermodal volume was up over 21% compared to the same week last year, which has been the trend for many months. Who said the economy was sluggish? Certainly, people are buying things.

On the negative side, carload sectors that experienced declines were as we have seen for some time, including chemicals, nonmetallic minerals, and motor vehicles and parts.

We also would like to underscore the value of shipping by rail in the overall effort to reduce climate change impacts from transportation. AAR has released a report on the issue and the following is a summary prepared by AAR with regard to Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

“Greenhouse gas emissions are directly related to fuel consumption. Freight railroads account for just 0.6% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, according to EPA data, and just 2.1% of transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. AAR analysis of federal data finds: Moving more freight by rail instead of the road would spur even greater GHG reductions. If 25% of the truck traffic moving at least 750 miles went by rail instead, annual greenhouse gas emissions would fall by approximately 13.1 million tons; If 50% of the truck traffic moving at least 750 miles went by rail instead, greenhouse gas emissions would fall by approximately 26.2 million tons.”

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