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Kansas City Southern’s Freight Volumes versus US Railroads in Week 52

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Kansas City Southern’s freight volumes

Kansas City Southern (KSU) registered a 3.8% gain in carload traffic in the 52nd week of 2017 (ended December 30), going against the trend among other US railroads. From ~20,000 carloads in the 52nd week of 2016, the railroad’s carloads grew to 20,700 units in the final week of 2017. KSU was the only railroad to report a positive carload volume change for the final week of 2017.

Carloads other than coal and coke made up 82% of total carloads, while the remaining carloads were coal and coke carloads. Kansas City’s carloads excluding coal and coke jumped 6.4% to ~17,000 carloads, up from 16,000 units in the final week of the previous year.

Coal and coke carloads, however, fell 6.5% in the 52nd week of 2017. From around 4,000 carloads in the final week of 2016, the company moved ~3,700 coal and coke carloads in the 52nd week of 2017.

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Ups and downs in commodity group volumes

Kansas City Southern posted volume gains in the following commodity groups:

  • grain mill products
  • petroleum products (UNG)
  • stone, clay, and glass products
  • motor vehicles and equipment (TSLA)
  • iron and steel scrap

These commodity groups pulled down volumes during the 52nd week of 2017:

  • grain
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • food and kindred products
  • pulp, paper, and allied products
  • chemicals and allied products (HUN)

KSU’s intermodal volumes in the 52nd week

Kansas City Southern reported a 4.8% rise in its intermodal volumes in the 52nd week of 2017. Containers account for most of KSU’s intermodal traffic, and container traffic grew 3.9% to 13,800 units, up from 13,300 units in the final week of 2016.

Trailer traffic jumped a robust 53.3% to ~375 trailers. In the absence of availability of cumulative freight data, the YoY (year-over-year) volume growth of Kansas City Southern couldn’t be computed.

Next, we’ll assess Canadian National Railway’s (CNI) railcar traffic.

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