In February 2017, Genesee & Wyoming’s (GWR) North American traffic fell 1% YoY (year-over-year). The company hauled 124,000 plus railcars in February 2017 as compared to ~125,000 railcars in February 2016. This comparison is a same railroad operations comparison, which excludes carloads added by acquisitions.
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GWR’s North American operations in February 2017 saw overall volumes drop due to the 5.7% fall in carloads other than coal and coke. Coal and coke carloads rose by a substantial 30% YoY. The rise in coal was mainly due to increased shipments of utility coal in GWR’s Midwest region.
Coal and coke carloads made up 16.3% and 12.8% of the company’s total carloads in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Revenue-wise, coal and coke remained in the 10%–13% range during the same periods.
Norfolk Southern (NSC), CSX (CSX), Kansas City Southern (KSU), Canadian National Railway (CNI), and Union Pacific (UNP) provide traffic data on a weekly basis. Genesee & Wyoming reports on a monthly basis. GWR is not technically a class I railroad, but it’s often compared to class I railroads given its area of operations.
The company recorded a positive change in volumes in eight out of 15 commodity groups. The major volume gains were in auto and auto parts, minerals and stones, and waste and petroleum products. However, carloads of food and kindred products, metallic ores, petroleum products, and agricultural products fell in February 2017.
Investors eyeing the transportation sector can consider the iShares US Industrials ETF (IYJ). Major US railroads make up nearly 6.4% of IYJ’s portfolio holdings.
Continue to the next and final part of this series for a look at GWR’s European carloads in February 2017.