Do you believe we have seen the bottom of the trough with rail traffic? (Jim Blaze)

Jim Blaze

A complex answer.

DOMESTIC USA INTERMODAL might not fall back down to hot a new low volume level. However, given the lack of consumer confidence in recent mid-July polling on consumer confidence, I would expect to see some small to mid-range drops in weekly domestic intermodal USA volumes continue into mid-August.

I would expect international container volumes (Asia to West Coast and Asia to East Coast) volumes to remain low into late August -- with some occasional weekly higher and lower volumes -- and possible much lower than years 2018 and 2019 international container imports through the rest of the year 2020, unless there is a significant drop in COVID-19 cases and a restored level of employment and consumer confidence heading into the October-December retail sales period. 

At this time, there is too much uncertainty to predict.

I am following Lori Ann LaRocco's maritime forecasts as my basis for double-stack USA container train traffic. She remains pessimistic as to volume increases in such container imports. I'm taking the same attitude into the end of the fourth quarter.  

CARLOAD freight is also seeing a long slow recovery road ahead. FTR seems to have the best forecast I have seen for this carload recovery sector.