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).
Change in carload commodity groups
For Canadian Pacific Railway, here are the commodity groups with higher volumes in Week 1 of 2018:
- forest products
- energy, chemicals, and plastics
- metals, minerals, and consumer products
Below are the commodity groups where traffic was reduced:
- fertilizer and sulfur
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.