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Comparing Kansas City Southern’s Volumes with the Industry’s

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Kansas City Southern’s volumes

After opening 2018 with a negative first week, Kansas City Southern (KSU) witnessed a positive week. The company’s carload traffic rose 6.3% to ~25,200 units in the week ended January 13, 2018, from 23,700 units in the second week of 2017. KSU, the smallest Class I railroad in the United States, earns almost 50% of its revenue from its Mexican operations. The Trump administration’s possible withdrawal from NAFTA (North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement) will most likely affect KSU’s Mexican operations. The company’s freight volume gains were much higher than those seen by other US railroads (IYJ) in Week 2 of 2018.

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Commodities other than coal and coke accounted for 83.6% of Kansas City Southern’s total carloads. The remaining 16.4% comprised coal and coke. In the second week of 2018, carloads excluding coal and coke rose 12% to ~21,000 from ~18,800 carloads in Week 2 of 2017. Coal and coke carloads fell 15.6% to 4,100 units.

Changes in carload commodity groups

The following commodity groups posted volume gains:

  • grain mill products
  • chemicals and allied products (HUN)
  • petroleum products
  • stone, clay, and glass products
  • motor vehicles and equipment (TSLA)

The following commodity groups posted volume losses:

  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • metals and products

KSU’s intermodal volumes

Kansas City Southern’s intermodal traffic rose 16.4% in Week 2 of 2018. Its container traffic rose 16.3% to ~19,300 units, while its trailer volumes rose 24.5%. The railroad’s railcar traffic, including intermodal, rose 10.5%, marking the largest growth among all Class I railroads in Week 2 of 2018. In the next part of this series, we’ll look at Canadian National Railway’s (CNI) freight volumes.

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