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Why Kansas City Southern’s Carloads Increased in Week 44

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Kansas City Southern’s carloads

Kansas City Southern (KSU), the smallest US Class I railroad, witnessed volume gains in railcars and intermodal business in the 44th week, which ended November 4, 2017. The company’s overall freight volumes rose 6.5% to ~46,200 units that week compared with 43,400 units in the week ended November 5, 2016.

KSU’s carloads other than coal (ARLP) and coke contributed 81.6% to its overall carload traffic. The same category reported a 2.6% rise in carloads to 20,600 units in the 44th week of 2017 compared with 20,100 units in the same week last year. Coal and coke carloads’ share in the company’s overall carloads rose to 18.4% from 17.9% last year. The railcars reported a 6% volume rise in carloads to ~4,600 units compared with 4,400 units in the 44th week of 2016. Kansas City Southern registered 3.2% volume gains in contrast to a ~2% volume loss reported by US railroads in the 44th week of 2017.

KSU’s changes in commodity groups in week 44

In the 44th week of 2017, the following commodity groups raised KSU’s overall volumes:

  • chemicals and allied products
  • petroleum products (UNG)
  • motor vehicles and equipment (TM)
  • iron and steel scrap

These commodity groups’ volumes were in the red in the same week:

  • grain
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • grain mill products
  • food and kindred products
  • metals and products

KSU’s intermodal traffic

In the week ended November 4, 2017, Kansas City Southern reported a solid 10.8% rise in intermodal traffic. The company moved ~20,900 containers and trailers compared to ~18,900 units during the corresponding week last year. Containers that dominate KSU’s intermodal volume, accounting for more than 98% of intermodal traffic, saw 11% volume gains in the reported week of 2017. Trailers that account for 2%–3% of KSU’s intermodal volume recorded a 2.2% volume gain in the 44th week of 2017 on a year-over-year basis.

In the next part of this series, we’ll look at Canadian National Railway’s (CNI) shipments in the 44th week of 2017.

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