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Canadian Pacific’s Railcar Traffic: Closed Positive in Week 1

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Jan. 16 2018, Updated 3:35 p.m. ET

Canadian Pacific’s railcar traffic

In the week ended January 6, 2018, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) registered a 4% growth in its carload traffic. It hauled ~27,200 carloads compared with ~26,100 units in the week ended January 7, 2017. CP and BNSF Railway (BRK-B) were the only railroads to report higher overall volumes in the first week of 2018.

Carloads excluding coal were ~81.8% of the total carloads in 2018 compared with 82.3% in 2017. Coal carloads varied from 17%–20%. Other than coal carload traffic rose 3.4% in Week 1 of 2018, touching ~22,200 units compared to ~21,500 units in 2017. Coal carloads rose 7%. The company moved ~5,000 carloads of coal in 2018 compared with ~4,600 carloads last year. With a better 2018 coal production outlook for Canadian coal producers, prospects of higher coal transportation have increased for Canadian railroads (CNI).

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Change in carload commodity groups

For Canadian Pacific Railway, here are the commodity groups with higher volumes in Week 1 of 2018:

  • potash
  • forest products
  • energy, chemicals, and plastics
  • metals, minerals, and consumer products

Below are the commodity groups where traffic was reduced:

  • grain
  • fertilizer and sulfur
  • automotive

CP’s intermodal volumes

Canadian Pacific Railway has been reporting consistently higher year-over-year intermodal traffic gains in the last few weeks of 2017. However, the first week of 2018 was an exception. That week, it recorded a loss of 2.4% in intermodal traffic. It hauled ~14,400 containers and trailers in the first week of 2018 compared with ~14,800 units last year.

This year could hold promise for US Class I railroads (IYJ) as far as their bottom lines are concerned. In terms of earnings, Class I railroads could do well, but business and volume growth remains a weak area for them.

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