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Did the Strike Take a Toll on CPR’s Traffic in Week 22?

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CP’s carload volumes in Week 22

In Week 22, Calgary-headquartered Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) recorded a 3% YoY (year-over-year) fall in carload traffic. The railroad company’s carload volumes fell to ~29,300 railcars, excluding intermodal, from ~30,200 railcars.

CP negotiated with some of its employees who went on strike on May 29. The strike was called off a few hours after it had started, but it still disrupted the company’s rail services and negatively impacted its freight volumes in Week 22.

In contrast to CP’s carload volume loss, rival Canadian National Railway (CNI) posted a nearly double-digit gain in Week 22. The Calgary-based railroad company’s carloads compared to the 0.2% rise reported by US railroad companies (IYJ) and the 6.4% rise reported by Canadian rail carriers.

Carloads sans coal (ARCH) made up 84% of CP’s total carloads in Week 22, whereas coal carloads made up 16% of its total carloads. In the same week last year, these proportions were 80% and 20% respectively. Carloads sans coal jumped ~2.3% YoY to ~24,700 units from over 24,100 units, while coal carloads fell ~23.5% YoY to ~4,600 units from ~6,100 units.

Changes in carload commodity groups

The following commodity groups’ shipments grew in Week 22:

  • potash
  • energy, chemical, and plastics
  • metals, minerals, and consumer products
  • automotive

The below-mentioned commodity groups’ shipments decreased in Week 22:

  • grain
  • fertilizers and sulfur
  • forest products

CP’s intermodal units in Week 22

In Week 22, Canadian Pacific Railway’s intermodal traffic fell significantly by 24% YoY to ~14,500 containers and trailers from fewer than 19,100. The company doesn’t report container and trailer traffic separately, unlike other Class I railroad companies (NSC).

CP’s rail traffic including intermodal rose 3.7% YoY, on par with US railroad companies’ traffic in the first 22 weeks of the year. Their rail traffic growth was slightly higher than Canadian railroad companies’ 3.4% YoY rise.

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