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Canadian National Railway Sees Highest Volume Growth in Week 49

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CNI’s freight volumes in Week 49

Recently, Canada’s largest freight railway, Canadian National Railway (CNI), has seen its carload traffic fall YoY (year-over-year). However, in the last two weeks, the trend has reversed. In the week ended December 9, 2017, or Week 49, the railroad’s carload traffic grew 4.9% to ~62,600 carloads from ~59,700 units in the week ended December 10, 2016. CNI’s carload growth was higher than that seen by its US counterparts.

In Week 49, coal (UNG) carloads pulled down its overall volumes again. CNI’s coal traffic fell 4.7% to ~6,200 carloads from ~6,500 carloads. Falling coal volumes have remained a weak point for Canadian National Railway in 2017. Coal and coke carloads account for less than 10% of CNI’s total carloads—the lowest proportion among Class I railroads. However, its carloads other than coal and coke rose 6.1% to ~56,500 railcars from ~53,200 railcars in 2016.

Changes in commodity groups

The following commodity groups recorded higher volumes in Week 49:

  • lumber and wood products
  • chemicals (DOW)
  • petroleum products
  • crushed stone
  • automotive (TSLA)

The following commodity groups recorded lower volumes in Week 49:

  • pulp and paper products
  • farm products
  • grain
  • food and kindred products

CNI’s intermodal volumes

Canadian National Railway witnessed higher YoY (year-over-year) intermodal traffic in the week ended December 9, 2017. Unlike other Class I railroads, the company’s intermodal traffic includes only containers. In the 49th week, CNI reported 20% gains in intermodal traffic, rising to ~50,600 containers from ~42,200 last year. CNI’s total railcar traffic rose 11.1%, the most among all Class I railroads. Rival Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) followed with a 10% volume rise.

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