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Behind Canadian Pacific Railway’s Freight Trends in Week 40



Canadian Pacific’s carloads in week 40

Calgary-headquartered Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) reported a 3.8% gain in railcar volumes to ~33,000 units last week (ended October 7), the 40th week of 2017. The company moved ~32,000 railcars in the week ended October 8, 2016.

The share of coal carloads in CP’s total carloads fell to 16.5% in the 40th week of 2017, down from 18.5% during the same week last year. The company reported a 7.7% fall in coal carloads to ~5,500 coal railcars from ~6,000 units during last year’s 40th week. But volume gains in carloads excluding coal and coke pushed the rise in railcar traffic.

Canadian Pacific Railway hauled ~28,000 railcars other than coal last week, compared with 26,000 units in the corresponding week of last year.

In terms of carload growth, CP has raced ahead of rival Canadian National in recent weeks. CP’s railcar volume gains have also been higher than its US-originated Class I peers.

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Changes in commodity groups

The commodity groups with YoY (year-over-year) higher volumes last week were as follows:

  • potash
  • fertilizer and sulfur
  • forest products
  • energy, chemicals, and plastics (DOW)
  • metals, minerals, and consumer products

These commodity groups posted lower volumes YoY in the 40th week of 2017:

  • grain
  • automotive (TM)

CP’s intermodal traffic last week

Surprisingly, Canadian Pacific Railway reported the exact same intermodal volumes last week as it did one year previously at ~20,400 containers. But the company has lagged behind its prime competitor, Canadian National Railway, in intermodal traffic growth so far in 2017.


In this weekly railroad freight series, we evaluated the carloads and intermodal units of all Class I railroads (IYJ) for the 40th week of 2017, ended October 7.

For regular updates on major US rail stocks, keep visiting Market Realist’s Railroads page.


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