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What Pulled Down Kansas City Southern’s Carloads Growth in Week 7?

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Kansas City Southern’s carloads

Kansas City Southern (KSU) is the smallest Class I railroad in the US. In the seventh week of 2018, KSU hauled 23,800 railcars, which was ~5% lower than the 25,000-plus railcars moved in Week 7 of 2017. KSU’s decline in carload traffic was much higher than the 0.6% slump reported by US railroads (GWR) in the seventh week of 2017.

Kansas City Southern’s railcar traffic has witnessed a zigzag movement so far in 2018. After staying in positive territory in the second week, the company’s overall traffic slipped into negative territory afterward. 

In the reported week, carloads other than coal (BTU) and coke comprised 86.4% of total carloads. Coal and coke’s share was 13.6%. 

Coal and coke traffic declined 29.3% in 2018 to 3,200 carloads from ~4,600 carloads in 2017. Carloads excluding coal and coke expanded 0.5% to ~20,600 units from 20,500 units in 2018.

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Advancing and declining commodity groups

Kansas City Southern (KSU) saw increased traffic for these commodity groups:

  • grain mill products
  • petroleum products
  • stone, clay, and glass products
  • petroleum products
  • motor vehicles and equipment

The railroad reported volume losses in the below-mentioned commodity groups:

  • grain
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • pulp, paper, and allied products
  • chemicals and allied products
  • metals and products

KSU’s intermodal traffic in Week 7

In contrast with its carload losses, Kansas City Southern (KSU) witnessed a 4.3% intermodal traffic gain in the seventh week of 2018. The railroad’s intermodal volumes expanded from 18,500 containers and trailers to over 19,200 units in the reported week. 

Container volumes expanded 3.7%, nearing 19,000 units from 18,200 units in the seventh week of 2017. Trailers reported a handsome gain of 54.9% where volumes touched 350 trailers in 2018 from 226 trailers in Week 7 of 2017.

Kansas City Southern saw a 1.0% loss in overall railcar traffic in 2018’s Week 7. This was in sharp contrast with the 3.2% growth posted by US railroads (IYJ) in that week.

In the next article, we’ll examine the freight trends of Canada’s largest railroad—Canadian National Railway (CNI).

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