Fuel prices creep higher

KANSAS CITY — Midwest on-highway diesel prices in the week ended May 23 averaged $3.199 per gallon, the Department of Energy’s Energy Information Agency reported. This was the highest price since the week ended Nov. 18, 2018. Midwest diesel prices were 43% above the August 2020 low and had risen 23% since Jan. 1, 2021.  At $4.047 per gallon, California’s average on-highway diesel prices were the highest in the nation.

Rail activity

US rail traffic in the week ended May 22 totaled 528,774 carloads and intermodal units, up 23% compared with the same week in 2020, the Association of American Railroads (AAR) indicated in its weekly rail traffic report. Total carloads for the week were 242,227, up 27% compared with the same week a year earlier, while US weekly intermodal volume was 286,547 containers and trailers, up 20% compared to 2020.

Each of the 10 carload commodity groups posted an increase compared with the same week in 2020. Grain carloads in the week totaled 25,396, a 16% year-over-year increase, bringing the cumulative total for the first 20 weeks of 2021 to 509,364 carloads for an average of 25,468 per week, a 23% increase over the same period in 2020.

“For some rail traffic categories, percentage changes for the current week compared with the same week in 2020 are inflated because of the widespread shutdowns — and subsequent large reduction in rail volumes — that impacted many economic sectors last year at this time,” the AAR said.

For the first 20 weeks of 2021, US railroads reported cumulative volume of 4,583,989 carloads, up 6% from the same point last year; and 5,658,401 intermodal units, up 19% from last year. Total combined US traffic for the first 20 weeks of 2021 was 10,242,390 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 13% compared to last year.

North American rail volume for the week ended May 22 on 12 reporting US, Canadian and Mexican railroads totaled 340,793 carloads, up 25% compared with the same week last year, and 378,724 intermodal units, up 20% compared with last year. Total combined weekly rail traffic in North America was 719,517 carloads and intermodal units, up 22.4%. North American rail volume for the first 20 weeks of 2021 was 14,010,375 carloads and intermodal units, up 11% compared with 2020. North American grain carloads in the week totaled 35,423, up 2% from the same week a year earlier, bringing 2021 cumulative grain carloads to 753,326 for an average of 37,666 per week, up 21% from the same period in 2020.

Canadian railroads reported 76,170 carloads for the week, up 16%, and 75,644 intermodal units, up 22% compared with the same week in 2020. For the first 20 weeks of 2021, Canadian railroads reported cumulative rail traffic volume of 3,035,544 carloads, containers and trailers, up 9%. Canadian grain carloads in the week totaled 8,177, down 13% from the same week in 2020, bringing cumulative grain carloads for the year to 206,438 for an average of 10,322 per week, up 26% from the same period in 2020.

Mexican railroads reported 22,396 carloads for the week, up 29% compared with the same week last year, and 16,533 intermodal units, up 13%. Cumulative 2021 volume on Mexican railroads was 732,441 carloads and intermodal containers and trailers, up 7% from the same period last year. Mexican grain carloads in the week totaled 1,850, down 48% from the same week a year earlier, bringing the 2021 total to 37,524 carloads for an average of 1,876 per week, down 18% from the same period in 2020.

In the week ended May 20, the average June shuttle secondary railcar bid-offer per car was $244 below tariff, $94 lower than the previous week and $146 lower than the same week in 2020. There were no non-shuttle bids or offers in the week.

Barge activity

Barged grain movements totaled 1,023,220 tons in the week ended May 22, according to the US Army Corps of Engineers. This was 18% more than the previous week and 61% more than the same period in 2020. In the same week, 578 grain barges moved down river — 43 more barges than the previous week, the Corps and the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service said. There were 714 grain barges unloaded in New Orleans, down 11% from the previous week.

Ocean freight activity

Twenty nine oceangoing grain vessels were loaded in the Gulf in the week ended May 20, 15% fewer than the same period last year, the AMS said. In the 10 days starting May 21, 42 vessels were expected to be loaded, 24%more than the same period last year. As of May 20, the rate for shipping one tonne of grain from the US Gulf to Japan was $66, down 1% from the previous week, the AMS said in its Grain Transportation Report. The rate from the Pacific Northwest to Japan was $38.50 per tonne, down 3% from the previous week.

Fuel prices

The average on-highway diesel fuel price in the week ended May 24 by region, and change from the previous week in dollars per gallon:

East Coast $3.235 +0.007
New England  $3.150 -0.002
Central Atlantic  $3.406 +0.011
Lower Atlantic $3.137 +0.007
Midwest $3.199 +0.002
Gulf Coast  $3.029 +0.000
Rocky Mountain $3.362 +0.001
West Coast $3.751 +0.016
West Coast less California $3.395 +0.012
California $4.047 +0.018

Source link