Union Pacific: Carload traffic in Week 8
Union Pacific (UNP) is a major railroad operating in the Western United States along with BNSF Railway (BRK.B). In Week 8 of 2018, which ended February 24, 2018, UNP registered a 2.1% loss in carload traffic. The railroad moved ~92,800 railcars units, excluding intermodal, that week compared with ~94,800 railcars in the week ended February 25, 2017. While other US railroads reported 2.7% carload traffic gains, Union Pacific posted a carload traffic loss in Week 8. Its archrival BNSF Railway (BRK.B) reported 3.8% carload traffic gains.
Commodities other than coal and coke carloads were 75.9% of total carloads, and the remaining 24.1% was shared by coal and coke. Carloads excluding coal and coke increased 0.3% to ~70,400 units from ~70,200 units in Week 8 of 2017. However, Union Pacific saw a 9.1% decline in coal and coke carloads. These carloads declined to ~22,400 units from ~24,600 units last year.
Ascending and descending carload commodity groups
These commodity groups pushed freight volumes up in Week 8:
- crushed stone, sand, and gravel
- food and kindred products
- lumber and wood products
- petroleum products
The following commodity groups saw a reduction in carloads:
- grain mill products
- pulp, paper, and allied products
- stone, clay, and glass products
UNP’s intermodal volumes in Week 8
Union Pacific recorded double-digit growth of 10.6% in intermodal volumes measured in containers and trailers. It moved ~74,800 containers and trailers in Week 8 compared with ~67,700 units in the same week of 2017. Containers dominate UNP’s intermodal traffic mix, accounting for 95.8% of intermodal traffic. The company moved ~71,700 containers compared with ~64,800 units last year. Trailer volumes grew 11.2% to ~3,100 units.
On an overall basis, UNP’s railcar traffic, including intermodal, rose 3.2% in Week 8 of 2018. That was slightly higher than the gains realized by US rail carriers.
In the next part, we’ll take a look at Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) shipments.