US Freight Rail Traffic on Track, but Mexico Stays Derailed

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Part 12
US Freight Rail Traffic on Track, but Mexico Stays Derailed PART 12 OF 14

Canadian National Railway: Railcars’ Growth Sustained in Week 27

CNI’s freight traffic in week 27

The first 27 weeks of 2017 are over, and Canadian National Railway (CNI) is still the only Class I railroad to show solid volume growth this year. The company on both fronts—railcars and intermodal—has posted the most solid and most consistent volume gains so far in 2017.

In the week ended July 8, 2017, Canadian National Railway saw its total freight traffic grow 8.9% YoY (year-over-year). The company hauled ~58,000 railcars in the 27th week of 2017, compared with ~53,000 railcars during the same period last year.

Canadian National Railway: Railcars&#8217; Growth Sustained in Week 27

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Carloads other than coal and coke normally account for less than 90% of CNI’s total carloads. This commodity group posted a 7.9% rise in volumes last week.

When compared with US railroads’ percentage rise in railcar volumes, CNI’s growth was far ahead in the 27th week of 2017, but its growth was comparable with the percentage volume gains booked by Canadian railroads.

CNI’s coal volumes

Canadian National Railway’s coal volumes rose last week, reversing its recent falling trend. In the week ended July 8, 2017, CNI’s coal railcars rose 17.9% YoY to 6,700 railcars. While US railroad coal volumes gained 5.7% last week, Canadian National Railway recorded much higher volume gains.

When compared with rival Canadian Pacific’s (CP) coal volumes, CNI saw a decent gain. Notably, since coal revenue doesn’t account for more than 5% of CNI’s total revenue, this Montreal-headquartered railroad has the lowest coal-related risks among Class I peers.

ETF option

If you’re interested in exposure to transport stocks, you might opt for the iShares Transportation Average ETF (IYT). Though IYT doesn’t have CNI specifically in its portfolio, ITY does have major transport stocks like United Parcel Service (UPS), FedEx (FDX), and Norfolk Southern (NSC).


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