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US Freight Rail Traffic on Track, but Mexico Stays Derailed

PART:
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Part 6
US Freight Rail Traffic on Track, but Mexico Stays Derailed PART 6 OF 14

What Just Happened with Union Pacific’s Railcar Volumes?

Union Pacific’s carloads in week 27

Union Pacific (UNP) is the largest freight railroad in the United States and competes directly with BNSF Railway (BRK-B) in the Western US. In the week ended July 8, 2017, Union Pacific’s overall railcars fell 1% YoY (year-over-year). The company hauled 87,000 railcars last week, compared with 88,000 railcars in the 27th week of 2016.

A closer look at UNP’s carload data suggests that the weakness in coal carloads pulled down its overall freight railcars. While UNP’s railcars other than coal and coke rose 1.2%, coal railcars reported a 6.5% contraction. Railcars other than coal came in at nearly 64,000, compared with 63,000 railcars one year ago.

What Just Happened with Union Pacific&#8217;s Railcar Volumes?

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The weakness in UNP’s railcar volumes was in line with the marginal rise reported by US railroads (IYT) for the same 27th week.

UNP’s coal volumes

Union Pacific’s coal (CNX) and coke railcars fell 6.5% to 23,500 units from ~25,000 railcars last year. In the same week this year, arch rival BNSF Railway reported a ~10% YoY rise in its coal and coke carloads in the first 27 weeks. Union Pacific’s coal (ARLP) volumes were up 16%, while BNSF Railway’s volumes rose 20% in the same category.

Progressing and regressing commodity groups in week 27

The commodities with higher volumes in the week ended July 8, 2017, were:

  • crushed stone, gravel, and sand
  • lumber and wood products
  • pulp, paper, and allied products
  • metals and products

Commodities with lower volumes were:

  • petroleum products
  • nonmetallic minerals
  • pulp, paper, and allied products
  • motor vehicles and equipment

Next, we’ll update Union Pacific’s intermodal volumes.

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