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Here's What Drove Growth in US Rail Freight in Week 39

PART:
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Part 7
Here's What Drove Growth in US Rail Freight in Week 39 PART 7 OF 8

Canadian National Railway: Fall in Railcars Lowered Freight Growth in Week 39

CNI’s railcar traffic

In 2017, the largest freight rail carrier in Canada, Canadian National Railway (CNI), has kept constant positive momentum. However, last week, the 39th week of 2017 (ended September 30), the company’s railcar volumes fell 6.5%. CNI moved ~66,000 railcars, compared with ~71,000 carloads in the week ended October 1, 2016.

Canadian National’s coal traffic contributed ~13% of all carloads in the 39th week of 2016, but that share fell to 10% in the same week this year. The company’s volumes other than coal (ARLP) and coke fell 2.8% to 59,500 railcars last week. Last year, these volumes reached ~61,000 units.

Canadian National Railway: Fall in Railcars Lowered Freight Growth in Week 39

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Coal volumes witnessed a huge decline last week. CNI hauled 6,700 coal railcars in 2017, down 30% from 9,500 carloads in the same week of last year.

Compared with other Canadian railroads, Canadian National Railway has posted on-par volume growth so far in 2017. However, in recent weeks, CNI’s railcar growth has been in the negative territory.

Changes in commodity groups

Last week, the following commodity groups reported higher volumes for CNI:

  • chemicals
  • crushed stone
  • metal products
  • stone, clay, and glass
  • farm products

These commodity groups pulled down overall volumes for CNI last week:

  • metallic ores
  • petroleum and chemicals (UGAZ)
  • forest products
  • automotive (TSLA)
  • grain

Canadian National Railway: Fall in Railcars Lowered Freight Growth in Week 39

CNI’s intermodal volumes in week 39

In the 39th week of 2017, Canadian National Railway’s intermodal volumes continued the constant growth we’ve been seeing all year. The company’s intermodal traffic rose 24.2%. CNI hauled over 53,000 containers in the 39th week of 2017, compared with ~43,000 units in the same week of 2016.

In 2017, CNI has been reporting higher year-over-year freight volumes compared with its US peers. CNI’s intermodal traffic growth has caught the attention of its other Class-I peers.

In the next and final part, we’ll discuss Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CP) freight traffic.

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