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Week 36: Hurricanes Impacted North American Rail Freight Traffic

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Part 6
Week 36: Hurricanes Impacted North American Rail Freight Traffic PART 6 OF 10

Why Kansas City Southern’s Freight Volumes Fell in Week 36

KSU’s freight volumes

Kansas City Southern (KSU) is another US Class I railroad that was affected by Hurricane Harvey. The company’s railcar volumes rose in contrast with its intermodal volumes in the week ended September 9, 2017. KSU’s overall railcar traffic rose 2.3% to ~24,000 carloads compared with more than 23,000 carloads in the week ended September 10, 2016.

The volumes of railcars other than coal and coke rose ~1.0% to ~19,000 units. Coal (ARLP) and coke carloads also registered a 7.6% gain in the 36th week of 2017. Kansas City Southern recorded a rise in railcars in contrast with a fall reported by US railroads in the reported week.

Why Kansas City Southern’s Freight Volumes Fell in Week 36

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Change in commodity groups

Commodities such as grain, crushed stone, sand and gravel, grain mill products, petroleum products (UNG), and metal products saw volume gains in week 36 of 2017. On the other hand, shipments of pulp, paper and allied products, chemicals and allied products, and motor vehicles and equipment declined year-over-year in the same week.

Recently, Kansas City Southern closed down some sections of its lines between Laredo and Houston due to Hurricane Harvey. Among the Class I railroads (UNP), KSU was severely impacted because its link between US track and KSC Mexico runs along the Texas Gulf Coast. This is a vital route for appliances and automobiles manufactured in Mexico for US markets.

Why Kansas City Southern’s Freight Volumes Fell in Week 36

KSU’s intermodal volumes

In week 36 of 2017, Kansas City Southern posted a 7.4% fall in its intermodal volumes. The company hauled more than 17,000 containers and trailers during that week, down from 18,500 units during the same week in 2016.

KSU’s container traffic dropped 6.5% to ~17,000 units from 18,000 units in the same week in 2016. Trailers account for 2%–3% of intermodal traffic for Kansas City Southern. The same volumes fell 43.3% in the week ended September 9, 2017.

Keep reading for an update on Canadian National Railway (CNI).

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