uploads///BNSF Carloads

Intermodal Growth Pushes BNSF Railway’s Railcar Traffic in Week 2

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BNSF Railway’s railcar traffic

In the week ended January 13, 2018, Warren Buffet’s BNSF Railway (BRK-B) recorded a minor carload traffic loss of 0.5%. The company hauled ~95,000 carloads, compared with ~95,300 carloads in the week ended January 14, 2017. BNSF Railway’s carload traffic fall was much lower than the 4.1% loss reported by US railroads in the second week of 2018. In contrast with BNSF Railway, Western US rail peer Union Pacific (UNP) saw a carload traffic gain of 3.4%.

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Among all US Class I railroads, BNSF Railway has the largest share of coal in its total carload traffic. In Week 2 of 2018, coal (UNG) made up 38% of its total carloads, while the remaining 62% comprised non-coal and coke commodities. These carloads grew 2% to 58,700 units from 57,500 units last year. Coal and coke carloads fell 4.1% to ~36,300 units in Week 2.

Changes in carload commodity groups

The following commodity groups posted volume gains:

  • chemicals (HUN)
  • food
  • metallic ores
  • sand and gravel
  • grain mill

The following commodity groups posted volume losses:

  • grain
  • motor vehicles (TSLA)
  • metals
  • petroleum

BNSF’s intermodal traffic in Week 2

In Week 2 of 2018, BNSF Railway’s intermodal volumes grew 4%. The rail giant moved ~102,000 containers and trailers, up 4,000 units from the ~98,000 units moved in Week 2 of 2017. Its container volumes rose 2.7% to ~90,000 units, while its trailer traffic rose 14.6% to 12,000 units in the second week of 2018. In the next part of this series, we’ll look at Union Pacific’s (UNP) railcar traffic.

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