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Intermodal Volumes Boosted CNI’s Rail Traffic Growth in Week 36

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CNI’s carload traffic in week 36

Canadian National Railway (CNI) is the number one fright rail in Canada. In week 36, the railroad’s carload traffic declined 0.9% YoY to ~62,900 railcars from ~63,400 units in the same period last year.

Out of all class I railroads, Canadian National Railway was the only to report a YoY carload volume decline in week 36. Its prime competitor, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) remained on the top with 10% gains. CP was followed by Union Pacific (UNP) and CSX (CSX) with respective gains of 6.4% and 5.4% in the week. In contrast to the US and Canadian railroads’ carload gains of ~4%, CNI posted a carload loss for the week.

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Canadian National Railway’s railcar volumes excluding coal and coke made up 89.3% of its total carloads in week 36. Coal and coke railcars accounted for 10.7% of total carload traffic. The traffic of commodity groups except coal and coke declined marginally by ~0.5% YoY in week 36 to ~56,200 railcars. Coal and coke railcars slumped 3.9% to ~6,700 units from ~7,000 units.

Changes in CNI’s carload commodity groups

The following carload commodity groups posted increased traffic in week 36:

  • lumber and wood products
  • pulp and paper products
  • grain
  • grain mill products

The following carload commodity groups reported decreased volumes in week 36:

  • primary forest products
  • metals and minerals
  • automotive
  • farm products
  • food and kindred products

CNI’s intermodal volumes

Canadian National Railway’s intermodal volumes rose 3.8% YoY in week 36. The company carried ~47,800 containers for the week compared to ~46,100 units in the same period of 2017. Unlike other rail carriers’ intermodal volumes, CNI’s volumes are represented by containers only.

Canadian National Railway registered 4% YoY total volume growth in the first 36 weeks of 2018, similar to the US and Canadian railroad (FXR) companies’ ~4% gains during the period.

In the last part, we’ll go through Canadian Pacific Railway’s railcar traffic.

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