BNSF Railway: Carloads Moved Traffic in Week 24



BNSF Railway: Carloads in Week 24

Berkshire Hathaway–owned BNSF Railway’s (BRK.B) carload traffic expanded 5.2% YoY (year-over-year) in Week 24. This Western US rail giant hauled over 101,000 railcars, excluding intermodal, in that week compared with 96,100 units in Week 24 of 2017. 

Percentage-wise, BNSF Railway’s weekly carload gains were significantly higher than those of rival Union Pacific’s (UNP) 1.1% YoY growth. When compared with the 1.9% YoY rise reported by US rail carriers (IYJ), BNSF’s gains surged far ahead. Volume-wise, BNSF Railway leads all Class I railroads in the United States.

Other-than-coal and coke carloads comprised 65.0% of total volumes in Week 24, whereas coal and coke carloads comprised 35.0%. Traffic excluding coal and coke saw a double-digit jump of 13.3% YoY to 65,500 units from 57,800 units. Coal and coke traffic, however, fell 7.1% YoY to ~35,600 units in Week 24 from ~38,300 in the corresponding week of 2017.

Changes in carload commodity groups

The following commodity groups drove traffic up in Week 24:

  • grain
  • chemicals
  • motor vehicles
  • food
  • sand and gravel
  • petroleum

The following commodity groups pulled down traffic in Week 24:

  • metallic ores
  • farm (no grain)
  • others

BNSF Railway’s intermodal volumes in Week 24

BNSF Railway’s intermodal volumes showed a minor 0.6% YoY rise, whereas UNP reported 7.1% YoY gains in Week 24. BNSF Railway moved ~108,200 trailers and containers from 107,500. Compared with 6.3% growth reported by US railroads, BNSF’s gains were much lower in Week 24, which ended on June 16. 

BNSF’s container volumes expanded 0.4% YoY to over 94,200 containers from ~93,800 containers. Trailer traffic also moved up slowly by 1.8% YoY to less than 14,000 units from ~13,700.

In the first 24 weeks of 2018, BNSF Railway’s total traffic jumped 5.0% YoY compared with 3.6% gains registered by US railroads (GWR). Next, we’ll review Union Pacific’s traffic trends.

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