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BNSF Railway’s Railcar Volume Trends in Week 13

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BNSF Railway’s carloads in Week 13

In the week ended March 31, 2018, BNSF Railway’s (BRK.B) carload volumes rose 7.3%. The company hauled ~102,600 carloads in that week, compared with 95,700 carloads in the week ended April 1, 2017. Rival Union Pacific (UNP) saw its carload traffic fall, by 2.7%. In Week 13, NSF registered a much higher rise in carload traffic than US railroads (IYJ), which reported 2.8% growth.

BNSF’s carload traffic excluding coal (ARCH) and coke accounted for 65% of total carloads. The remaining 35% comprised coal and coke carloads. In Week 13 of 2017, these proportions were 62% and 38%, respectively. Carloads other than coal and coke jumped 11.8% to ~67,000 units from ~59,800 units last year. Coal and coke carloads fell slightly, touching 35,800 units in Week 13 of 2018.

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Changes in BNSF Railway’s carload commodity groups

The following carload commodity volumes rose in Week 13:

  • grain
  • chemicals
  • metallic ores
  • sand and gravel
  • petroleum products

The following carload commodity volumes fell in Week 13:

  • food
  • lumber and wood

BNSF Railway’s intermodal traffic

BNSF Railway’s intermodal traffic rose 1.8% in Week 13 of 2018. The company carried ~101,800 containers and trailers that week, compared with ~100,000 units in the corresponding week last year. While container volumes fell slightly, trailer traffic rose 21.6%. Container traffic fell 0.6% to ~89,000 containers from 89,500 containers last year. Trailer volumes stood at ~12,900 units in 2018, compared with 10,600 units in Week 13 of last year.

In the first 13 weeks of 2018, BNSF Railway reported 4.7% growth in railcar traffic overall, almost doubling the average 2.6% growth reported by US railroads (GWR) in the same category. In the next section, we’ll look at Union Pacific’s freight volumes.

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