Commodities that Led Traffic Growth for CNI in Week 24



CNI’s carload traffic in Week 24

In Week 24, Canadian National Railway (CNI), the largest rail freight carrier in Canada, posted a 10.7% YoY (year-over-year) rise in carload traffic. In that week, the company hauled ~66,000 railcars excluding intermodal compared with 59,600 units in Week 24 of 2017. 

In comparison with competitor Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CP) 4.0% YoY gains, Canadian National Railway’s growth was far higher. The latter’s carload traffic gains were also higher than the 7.0% YoY rise reported by Canadian railroads in Week 24.

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CNI’s traffic excluding coal (ARCH) and coke was 89.2% of total carloads in Week 24 of 2018. Its coal and coke traffic was 10.8% of total carloads in Week 24. Carloads excluding coal and coke expanded 9.2% YoY to more than 58,800 units from ~53,800 in 2017. Coal and coke carloads jumped a whopping 24.0% YoY to 7,150 units from under 5,800 in 2017.

Changes in CNI’s carload commodity groups

The following commodities saw volume gains in Week 24:

  • lumber and wood products
  • primary forest products
  • chemicals
  • non-metallic minerals
  • metallic ores
  • automotive
  • grain
  • food and kindred products

These carload commodities witnessed volume losses in Week 24:

  • pulp and paper products
  • petroleum products
  • crushed stone
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CNI’s intermodal volumes in Week 24

In Week 24, Canadian National Railway’s intermodal traffic recorded 3.3% YoY growth. In percentage terms, the railroad’s intermodal gains have narrowed over the last couple of weeks. 

This trend persisted in Week 24, as CNI hauled less than 51,600 containers from ~48,900 in Week 24 of 2017. Unlike other rail carriers’ intermodal volumes (GWR), CNI’s intermodal volumes are represented by containers only.

In the first 24 weeks of 2018, Canadian National Railway posted 4.2% YoY growth in its rail traffic including intermodal. This is relatively higher than Canadian rail carriers’ (IYT) 3.5% gains during the same period. CNI’s freight volume growth exceeded the average 3.6% gains realized by US railroad companies in the first 24 weeks of the year. 

We’ll conclude this weekly railroad series with a summary of Canadian Pacific Railway’s (CP) rail traffic.


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