BNSF Railway’s freight railcars
BNSF Railway (BRK-B) is a major North American freight transportation company. It has a rail network of 33,000 route miles in 28 states and three Canadian provinces. In the week ended June 17, 2017, the company’s freight railcars rose 8.9% YoY (year-over-year) to over 96,000 units, compared to ~88,000 units in the same week of 2016.
BNSF Railway’s railcars other than coal and coke also rose 3.6% YoY to ~58,000 units in the week ended June 17, 2017. In percentage terms, the company’s total carloads rose faster than the overall rise recorded by US railroad companies.
BNSF Railway’s coal volumes
BNSF Railway’s coal and coke volumes rose 18% YoY in week 24 of 2017. Percentage-wise, the rise in BNSF’s coal and coke carloads was double that of rival Union Pacific (UNP). Notably, coal volumes accounted for ~21.0% of BNSF’s 1Q17 freight revenue.
BNSF Railway saw its coal volumes rise 18% in 1Q17. Higher 1Q17 natural gas prices (UNG) resulted in the increased consumption of utility coal (ANR) (ARLP). The negative effects of retiring coal power plants offset utility coal volumes in 1Q17.
Rising and falling commodity groups
The rising commodity groups in week 24 were as follows:
- sand and gravel
- farm products excluding grain
- forest products
Commodity groups that reported major falls in their volumes were petroleum, lumber and wood, grain, and pulp and paper.
In the next article, we’ll take a look at BNSF Railway’s intermodal traffic in week 24.