Canadian Pacific’s carloads

Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CP) total carloads rose to 5.0% in the week ended April 8, 2017. The company hauled more than 32,000 railcars that week, similar to its total carloads in the corresponding week of 2016. CP’s railcars, excluding coal, rose to 5.0% YoY (year-over-year) to settle at ~26,000 units compared to ~25,000 units in the week ended April 9, 2016.

Canadian Pacific normally earns 70.0% of its revenue from Canada and 30.0% from the United States. Its non-coal carloads rose to 5.0% YoY in the 14th week of 2017, whereas Canadian National Railway (CNI) reported a YoY rise of 13.4%.

Canadian Pacific Railway: Overall Freight Traffic in Week 14

Intermodal traffic

Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CP) intermodal volumes have been rising for the past few weeks. In the week ended April 8, 2017, it reported a 5.7% rise in overall intermodal traffic to ~19,000, from nearly 18,000 carloads in the corresponding week last year.

Why coal carloads matter to CP

Coal accounted for 11.0% of CP’s revenue and 12.0% of its carloads in 2016. The company mainly transports metallurgical coal meant for export through Metro Vancouver’s port. Its coal traffic in Canada begins primarily at Teck Resources’ (TCK) mines in southeast British Columbia.

During the past year, coal production and demand have been under pressure due to depressed prices, environmental concerns, and a shift away from coal-fired power plants to natural gas–based electricity generation. US steel producers’ capacity utilizations didn’t see marked improvements in the recent quarter either.

All US-born Class I railroad companies (UNP) make up part of the portfolio holdings of the WisdomTree Earnings 500 ETF (EPS).

Commodity groups

In the week ended April 8, 2017, major rising commodity groups for Canadian Pacific were as follows:

  • grain
  • potash products
  • metals, minerals, and consumer products

The major commodity groups that fell were the following:

  • fertilizer and sulfur
  • automotive
  • chemicals and plastic

Next, we’ll take a look at the changes in Genesee & Wyoming’s (GWR) North American freight traffic.

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