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Canadian National Railway’s Freight Mix in Week 5

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Canadian National Railway: Carload traffic

In the week ended February 3, 2018, Canada’s largest freight railroad, Canadian National Railway (CNI) registered a slight 0.3% carload traffic loss. The Montreal-headquartered railroad hauled ~63,000 carloads in that week compared with 63,200 carloads in the week ended February 4, 2017. The company’s carload volume change was in line with the slump reported by US and Canadian railroads (GWR).

CNI’s carloads other than coal (BTU) and coke comprised 89.0% of total carloads in 2018 compared with 90.6% in the fifth week of 2017. These carloads declined 2.1%, reaching slightly over 56,000 units from more than 57,200 units in 2017. 

Coke and coal carloads comprised 11.0% of overall carloads, up 1.6% from 9.4% in 2017. These carloads jumped 17.1% to slightly less than 7,000 units in 2018 compared with ~6,000 units in 2017.

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Ups and downs in volumes of commodity groups

The commodity groups that reported forward total carloads were:

  • crushed stone
  • metal products
  • metallic ores
  • farm products

The commodity groups where volumes contracted were:

  • forest products
  • petroleum and chemicals
  • stone, clay, and glass products
  • automotive
  • grain

CNI’s intermodal traffic in Week 5

In week 5 of 2017, Canadian National Railway saw robust growth in its intermodal volumes. However, in recent weeks, the rate of these gains has slowed. 

In the fifth week of 2018, CNI’s intermodal traffic expanded 8.9% to 51,600 containers and trailers from 47,400 units in 2017. The company registered a 3.8% overall increase in railcar traffic, which was slightly lower than the gains of US and Canadian railroads (XLI) in week 5.

To conclude this weekly rail freight series, we’ll take a close look at Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CP) shipments.

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