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A Summary of Canadian Pacific Railway’s Week 34 Rail Traffic

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CP’s carload traffic in Week 34

In Week 34, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) witnessed a 3.5% YoY (year-over-year) carload traffic gain. In the week, the company moved ~35,400 railcars sans intermodal units compared to ~34,200 in the corresponding week of 2017.

Canadian Pacific Railway’s carload traffic gains were on par with the 3.4% gain reported by rival Canadian National Railway (CNI) in Week 34. CP’s commodity group traffic excluding coal made up 82.7% of its total carload traffic in the week. Coal made up 17.3% of its total carload traffic.

Carload traffic of commodity groups except coal expanded 6.4% YoY to ~29,200 units in Week 34 compared to ~27,500 units in the corresponding week last year. Coal traffic, however, fell 8.3% YoY to ~6,100 railcars in Week 34 from ~6,700 units in Week 34 of 2017.

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Changes in CP’s carload commodity groups

The following commodity groups’ volumes increased in Week 34:

  • potash
  • forest products
  • energy, chemicals, and plastics
  • automotive

The following commodity groups’ volumes decreased in Week 34:

  • grain
  • fertilizer and sulfur
  • metals, minerals, and consumer products

CP’s intermodal traffic in Week 34

In Week 34, Canadian Pacific Railway reported a 2.1% YoY rise in intermodal traffic. The company’s intermodal gains were in sixth place in the week, preceded by CNI and US-originated companies Union Pacific (UNP), Norfolk Southern (NSC), CSX Corporation (CSX), and Kansas City Southern (KSU). BNSF Railway (BRK.B) was the only railroad company that reported lower YoY intermodal traffic in Week 34.

Canadian Pacific Railway hauled ~20,300 trailers and containers in Week 34 compared to ~20,000 units in the comparable period last year. The railroad doesn’t report container and trailer traffic separately, unlike other Class I railroad (XTN) companies.

In the first 34 weeks of 2018, Canadian Pacific Railway’s railcar traffic posted a 3.9% YoY rise. CP’s growth during the same period equaled US and Canadian railroad companies’ 3.9% YoY gains.

Summary

Looking at the 2018 rail traffic graph posted by the Association of American Railroads, we can see that carload traffic and intermodal units have displayed a mixed trend. Total weekly volumes in 2018 crossed last year’s levels starting in Week 18, and they’ve mostly continued this trend since. Strong intermodal traffic has been the main driver of overall freight volume growth in 2018.

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