Why Kansas City Southern’s Railcar Traffic Fell in Week 13



Kansas City Southern’s carload volumes

The smallest US Class I railroad, Kansas City Southern (KSU), reported a high-single-digit fall in its carload traffic in Week 13 of 2018, by 7.1% YoY (year-over-year). The company hauled ~23,500 carloads in 2018, ~1,800 fewer than in Week 13 of 2017. In contrast, US railroads’ (XLI) carload volumes rose 2.8%. 

KSU reported volume losses across categories. Its carloads excluding coal (BTU) and coke fell 5.5% YoY, to ~20,500 units from ~21,700, and its coal and coke carloads fell 16.5% YoY to 3,000 units from 3,600.

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Changes in Kansas City Southern’s carload commodity groups

The following carload commodity volumes rose in Week 13:

  • grain mill products
  • petroleum products
  • motor vehicles and products

The following carload commodity volumes fell in Week 13:

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

Intermodal traffic in Week 13

In Week 13, Kansas City Southern’s intermodal traffic posted a double-digit loss of 10.7% YoY to ~17,000 containers and trailers from 19,000. While trailer volumes grew 18.1%, container shipments fell 11%. Containers account for more than 98% of KSU’s intermodal traffic.

In Week 13 of 2018, KSU’s railcar traffic including intermodal fell 8.6%, whereas US railroads’ (GWR) volumes rose 2.8%. However, KSU’s volumes trended in line with those of Mexican railroads. Keep reading for an update on Canadian National Railway’s (CNI) freight volumes.


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