uploads///UNP carloads

Which Commodities Boosted UNP’s Freight Traffic in Week 18

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Dec. 4 2020, Updated 10:53 a.m. ET

UNP’s carload traffic in Week 18

So far this year, Western US rail freight giant Union Pacific’s (UNP) YoY (year-over-year) freight volume growth has lagged behind rival BNSF Railway’s (BRK.B). In Week 18, UNP’s carload traffic rose 5.2% YoY (year-over-year) to ~94,400 carloads (excluding intermodal units) from ~89,800. It underperformed BNSF Railway (BRK.B), whose carload traffic grew 10.7%, and US railroads.

Union Pacific’s carload volumes, excluding coal (ARLP) and coke, grew 7.3% YoY in Week 18, to ~75,300 carloads from ~70,100. However, its coal and coke carloads fell 2.4% YoY to ~19,100 units from ~19,600.

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Changes in UNP’s commodity groups

The following shipments grew in Week 18:

  • grain mill products
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • motor vehicles and equipment
  • chemicals
  • petroleum products
  • metals and products

The following shipments fell in Week 18:

  • grain
  • stone, clay, and glass products
  • waste and non-ferrous scrap

Union Pacific’s intermodal volumes in Week 18

In Week 18, Union Pacific‘s intermodal volumes expanded in line with its carload traffic gains, rising 9.8% YoY to ~77,800 containers and trailers from ~70,900. Its container volumes grew 9.3%, and its trailer traffic rose 22.8%.

In the first 18 weeks of this year, UNP’s total railcar traffic, including intermodal, has risen 2.0% YoY, while US railroads’ (CSX) has risen 3.4%. In the next part, we’ll discuss Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) rail traffic.

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