Highest traffic gainer
Union Pacific (UNP) reported the highest traffic volume growth among all of the Class I railroads (IYT) for week 51. The company moved 181,124 railcars compared to 168,526 units in week 51 of 2017—YoY (year-over-year) growth of 7.5%. Kansas City Southern (KSU), Canadian National (CNI), and CSX (CSX) were second, third, and fourth with 7.2%, 5.9%, and 5.1% gains, respectively. Union Pacific’s rail traffic grew 3.6% YoY to 8.8 million in the first 51 weeks of 2018.
Intermodal drives traffic
The increase in total rail traffic YoY was mainly driven by strong intermodal growth. In week 51, Union Pacific’s intermodal traffic expanded 12.3% YoY to 80,614 containers and trailers from 71,796 units in the same period last year. Union Pacific carried 76,931 containers in week 51—compared to 68,335 containers in the same week the previous year. The company’s trailer volumes expanded 6.4% YoY to 3,683 units—compared to 3,461 units in week 51 of 2017.
Union Pacific’s intermodal volume grew the most among all of the Class I railroad companies, followed by Kansas City Southern, CSX, and Canadian National, which registered YoY increases of 8.6%, 8.5%, and 6.8%, respectively. Canadian Pacific was the only Class I railroad company that witnessed a decline in intermodal units. The company’s intermodal volume fell 1.5% in week 51.
Union Pacific reported a 3.9% YoY increase in its carload traffic in week 51. The company carried 100,510 railcars, excluding intermodal units, compared to 96,730 in the same period last year. Commodity groups excluding coal and coke posted a 2.6% YoY increase in traffic to 75,107 railcars from 73,239 railcars. Coal and coke traffic expanded 8.1% YoY in week 51 to 25,403 carloads from 23,491 carloads in the same week last year.
Next, we’ll discuss Kansas City Southern’s rail traffic performance.