What Pulled Down Union Pacific’s Carload Volumes in Week 25?



UNP’s carload volumes in Week 25

In Week 25, which ended on June 23, Western US rail giant Union Pacific’s (UNP) carload traffic declined, in contrast to a rise reported by US railroads overall. The railroad posted a YoY (year-over-year) carload traffic loss of 1.6%. It hauled ~96,000 carloads that week compared to 97,500 the previous year. Compared to US railroads’ (XLI) 2.5% YoY growth, UNP saw a negative carload traffic change in Week 25. Its carload volumes trended in the opposite direction of rival BNSF Railway’s (BRK.B) carload traffic change.

Railcars other than coal (BTU) and coke were 77.2% of total carloads. Coal and coke carloads were 22.8%. Carloads other than coal and coke rose 2.1% YoY to ~74,000 in Week 25 from ~72,500 in last year’s corresponding week. Coal and coke carloads declined 12.4% YoY to ~22,000 units from ~25,000 units.

Changes in UNP’s commodity groups

The following commodity groups pushed up overall volumes in Week 25:

  • chemicals
  • nonmetallic minerals
  • petroleum products
  • metals and products
  • iron and steel scrap

The following commodity groups pulled down overall volumes in Week 25:

  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • grain mill products
  • lumber and wood products
  • stone, clay, and glass products
  • motor vehicle and equipment

UNP’s intermodal volumes in Week 25

In Week 25, Union Pacific‘s intermodal traffic growth was lower than US railroads’ 4.9% YoY gains in the same category. UNP’s intermodal volumes rose 3.2% YoY that week to ~78,400 containers and trailers from ~76,000 units. Compared with rival BNSF Railway’s 4.6% intermodal traffic gains, UNP posted lower growth in Week 25. The latter’s container volumes rose 2.6% YoY to ~75,000 units from ~73,100. Trailer traffic rose 18.6% YoY to ~3,400 units from ~2,900 units.

Union Pacific’s overall volumes, including intermodal, expanded 3% YoY in the first 25 weeks of 2018, marginally lower than US railroads’ (GWR) 3.6% gains during the same period.

In the next part, we’ll take a look at Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) rail traffic.

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