Highest traffic gainer
In week 48, Union Pacific (UNP) reported 5.2% YoY total traffic volume growth. The company moved 181,904 railcars compared to 172,939 units in week 48 of 2017. The major western US railroad company was first in terms of traffic volume growth among all of the Class I railroads in week 48. CSX (CSX), Canadian Pacific (CP), and Canadian National (CNI) were in second, third, and fourth with 1.5%, 1.5%, and 1.4% gains, respectively.
Union Pacific’s rail traffic grew 3.4% YoY to 8.2 million in the first 48 weeks of 2018. However, the company’s traffic growth was lower than the US railroads’ (FTXR) 3.7% gains during the same period.
Intermodal drives traffic
The YoY surge in total rail traffic was mainly driven by strong intermodal growth. In week 48, Union Pacific’s intermodal traffic expanded 11.4% YoY to 83,041 containers and trailers from 74,542 units in the same period last year. Union Pacific carried 78,321 containers in week 48 compared to 70,422 containers in the same week the previous year. The company’s trailer volumes expanded 14.6% YoY to 4,720 units compared to 4,120 units in week 48 of 2017.
The railroad company’s intermodal volume gain was the highest among all of the Class I railroad companies, followed by CSX Corporation, Norfolk Southern (NSC), and Kansas City Southern (KSU), which registered YoY increases of 4.4%, 3.7%, and 2.3%, respectively. BNSF Railway, Canadian Pacific, and Canadian National reported lower YoY intermodal volumes in week 48.
Carload traffic increased in week 48
Union Pacific reported a 0.5% YoY increase in its carload traffic in week 48. The company carried 98,863 railcars, excluding intermodal units, compared to 98,397 in the same period last year. Commodity groups excluding coal and coke posted a 1.7% YoY increase in traffic to 75,819 railcars from 74,568 railcars. Coal and coke traffic contracted 3.3% YoY in week 48 to 23,044 carloads from 23,829 carloads in the same week last year. In week 48, Canadian Pacific was first with a 4.1% carload gain in week 48 followed by Canadian National’s 3.9% carload gain.
Next, we’ll discuss CSX’s rail traffic performance.