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Kansas City Southern: Lowest Volume Gainer in Week 27

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KSU’s carload traffic in Week 27

Mixed gains in rail traffic volume continue for the smallest US Class I railroad, Kansas City Southern (KSU), in 2018. For the past several weeks, the US-Mexico railroad has seen very uneven volume growth trends. In Week 27, it registered a 1% loss in carload traffic. KSU’s carload volumes were ~23,900 units from ~24,100. In Week 27, US railroads (XTN) reported a 5.4% YoY carload volume rise, which was the complete opposite of the minor loss reported by Kansas City Southern.

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Kansas City Southern’s traffic excluding coal (ARLP) and coke was 84% of total carloads, whereas coal and coke railcars were 16%. Carloads excluding coal and coke expanded 1.9% YoY to ~20,000 railcars from ~19,700. The rail carrier’s coal and coke carloads posted a huge double-digit 13.5% YoY loss in Week 27. The railroad moved ~3,800 coal and coke carloads from ~4,400.

Changes in KSU’s commodity groups

The following commodity groups’ traffic increased in Week 27:

  • pulp, paper, and allied products
  • chemicals and allied products
  • petroleum products
  • iron and steel scrap

The following commodity groups’ carloads slumped in Week 27:

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

Intermodal volumes in Week 27

Kansas City Southern’s intermodal volumes trended in the reverse direction of carloads. The railroad’s intermodal traffic gained 3.6% YoY in Week 27. KSU hauled ~18,300 intermodal containers and trailers that week compared with ~17,700. Containers, accounting for 98% of KSU’s intermodal unit mix, posted a 3% YoY traffic growth, touching ~18,000 units from ~17,500. Trailer volumes rose a significant 42.2% YoY to ~385 trailers from ~270.

Kansas City Southern’s overall freight volumes, including intermodal, expanded 1% YoY in Week 27 against US rail carriers’ (GWR) 8.6% gains that week.

In the next part, we’ll take a look at Canadian National Railway’s (CNI) freight trends.

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