Freight rail volumes, post-Q2 earnings: from the bottom up?

Class I second-quarter earnings are just now being announced, with CSX the first to report on July 13. As rail-traffic volumes have continued to lag, the year-over-year comparisons won't be pretty, as noted in my July issue column.

Might the worst be over, might Q2 represent the bottom, as a couple of sources in a July 13 Bloomberg story suggest? Possibly, could be, maybe.

Back in April, rail execs said they hoped Q2 would be the nadir. And while I haven't had any observers tell me during the past couple weeks that they think an uptick's underway here as we near Q3's midpoint, it's reasonable to think the Q2 numbers we'll be seeing in the next couple of weeks will reflect a low point . [Cue The Beatles' "Getting Better" — "I've got to admit, it's getting better/a little better all the time (it can't get no worse.")]

But as I mentioned in my July column, I'm not hearing prognosticators predicting when said uptick might occur, at least not with any specificity. It's more of a hope/feeling — maybe late in the year, but without defining "late," is about as specific as the predictions I've been hearing/reading as of late. So: I'll continue to relay what we hear, however specific it may be, as this next quarter unfolds.

Related Content