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How BNSF Railway’s Rail Traffic Trended in Week 20

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BNSF Railway’s carloads in Week 20

In Week 20 (ended May 19), western US rail freight major BNSF Railway’s (BRK.B) carload traffic rose 4.3% YoY (year-over-year) to ~97,600 railcars (excluding intermodal) from ~93,500. Competitor Union Pacific (UNP) followed BNSF Railway in terms of carload growth, posting a 3.7% rise YoY. BNSF’s carload growth rose 1.2% YoY.

Carload volumes, excluding coal (ARCH) and coke, rose 7.5% YoY in Week 20, to 63,800 units from 59,400. However, coal and coke carloads fell 1.3% YoY to ~33,700 units from ~34,200.

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Changes in carload commodity groups

The following commodity groups’ volumes rose in Week 20:

  • chemicals
  • motor vehicles
  • sand and gravel
  • stone, clay, and glass products
  • petroleum
  • grain mill

The following commodity groups’ volumes fell in Week 20:

  • grain
  • metallic ores
  • metals

BNSF’s intermodal traffic

In Week 20, BNSF Railway’s intermodal units grew 3.7% YoY to ~106,000 containers and trailers from ~102,500. Container traffic rose 0.30% YoY to ~92,800 containers from ~92,500, while trailer volumes rose 32.1% YoY to 13,100 units from ~10,000.

In the first 20 weeks of 2018, BNSF’s overall rail traffic including intermodal grew 5.1% YoY, higher than than the average 3.6% rise recorded by US railroads (GWR). In the next section, we’ll review Union Pacific’s rail traffic.

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