GWR’s North American carloads
In January 2017, Genesee & Wyoming’s (GWR) North American traffic rose 9.1% YoY (year-over-year). The company hauled ~136,000 railcars in January 2017, as compared to more than 124,000 railcars in January 2016. We should note that the comparison is for the same railroad. Same railroad operations exclude carloads added by acquisitions.
GWR’s coal carloads
GWR’s North American operations in January 2017 saw overall volumes rise due to the substantial increase in coal and coke carloads, which reported 21% YoY growth. The rise in coal was mainly due to due to increased shipments of utility coal in GWR’s Midwest region.
Coal and coke carloads made up 20.0% and 16.3% of the company’s total carloads in 2014 and 2015, respectively. Revenue-wise, coal and coke remained in the 10%–13% range during the same periods.
Railroads like Norfolk Southern (NSC), CSX Corporation (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, but GWR is not technically a Class I railroad. Given its area of operations, GWR is often compared with Class I rail carriers.
Frontrunning and declining commodity groups
The company recorded a positive change in volumes in 12 out of 15 commodity groups. The major volume gains were reported in auto and auto parts, minerals and stones, waste and petroleum products. However, carloads of metallic ores, lumber and forest products and pulp and paper declined in January 2017.
Investors eyeing the transportation sector can consider opting for 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 January 2017.