Behind Kansas City Southern’s Rising Shipments in Week 39



KSU’s freight volumes

Kansas City Southern (KSU) is the smallest Class-I railroad in the US. Last week, the 39th week of 2017 (ended September 30), the company’s railcar volumes rose 5.6% on a YoY (year-over-year) basis. KSU moved ~26,000 railcars, compared with nearly 25,000 units in the week ended October 1, 2016.

The volumes of other-than-coal railcars contribute ~80% of KSU’s total railcar volumes. Coal and coke railcars account for the remaining shipments. Last week, other-than-coal railcars grew 6.6%, while coal carloads grew 1.8%. Shipments excluding coal and coke reached ~21,000 carloads, compared with ~20,000 units in the same week last year.

Compared with the decline in railcar volumes reported by all US railroads, KSU posted volume gains in the 39th week of 2017.

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Ups and downs in commodity groups

The following commodity groups posted volume gains last week:

  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • grain mill products
  • food and Kindred products
  • motor vehicles and equipment (TM) (F)
  • petroleum products (UNG)

The following commodity groups saw YoY volume declines last week:

  • chemicals and allied products
  • metals and products
  • waste and non-ferrous scrap

KSU’s intermodal volumes

Kansas City Southern registered a 6.2% gain in intermodal traffic last week, reaching ~22,000 containers and trailers. Almost all KSU’s intermodal units are dominated by container traffic. The company hauled ~21,500 containers last week, up 6.5% from ~20,000 units during the same last year. KSU’s trailer traffic slid 9.5% to 343 trailers in the 39th week of 2017, down from ~380 units in the corresponding week last year.

The rise in KSU intermodal traffic was on par with the growth reported by all US and Mexican railroads in the same category.

Now let’s move to Canadian National Railway (CNI).


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