How BNSF Railway’s Rail Traffic Trended in Week 20



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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