uploads///UNP Carloads

Behind Union Pacific’s Railcar Traffic in Week 6

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Nov. 20 2020, Updated 4:40 p.m. ET

Union Pacific: carloads for the 6th week

Another major Western US railroad Union Pacific (UNP) posted a marginal 0.6% contraction in carload traffic in the sixth week of 2018, ended February 10. UNP carried ~92,800 railcars excluding intermodal units for the week, compared with ~93,300 railcars in the sixth week of 2017.

Union Pacific’s carload traffic decline was largely in line with US railroads’ (CSX) 0.5% carload fall. However, rival BNSF Railway’s (BRK.B) carload change trended in a positive direction.

Carloads other than coal and coke accounted for 74.8% of Union Pacific’s total carloads in 2018, compared with 71.9% last year. These carloads jumped 3.4% to 69,400 units, up from 67,100 units in the sixth week of 2017.

However, coal and coke carloads fell 10.7% to 23,400 units from ~26,200 units during the same week last year. The share of coal and coke carloads fell to 25.2% in the sixth week of 2018, compared with 28.1% last year.

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Changes in carload commodity groups

The commodity groups that drove carload traffic upward included:

  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • grain mill products
  • lumber and wood products
  • petroleum products

The following commodity groups registered a loss in carloads:

  • grain
  • food and kindred products
  • stone, clay, and glass products
  • motor vehicles and equipment

UNP’s intermodal volumes in the 6th week

Union Pacific witnessed a 0.8% expansion in intermodal traffic in the sixth week of 2018. The company moved 70,800 containers and trailers for the week, compared with 70,200 units in the same week of 2017. Containers that dominated the intermodal traffic mix of Union Pacific registered a 1.1% traffic gain.

The company hauled 68,000 containers in the sixth week of 2018, compared with 67,300 units in the sixth week of last year. However, its trailer volumes fell 4.6% to 2,800 trailers, down from ~3,000 trailers in the sixth week of last year.

On an overall basis, Union Pacific’s overall freight volumes including intermodal rose marginally compared with US railroads overall (XLI).

In next part of this series, we’ll examine Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) railcar traffic in the sixth week of 2018.

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