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US Railroads’ Traffic Continues to Grow

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Jan. 28 2019, Published 11:26 a.m. ET

US rail traffic

US railroads’ traffic growth has continued. Association of American Railroads data shows that US freight rail traffic rose 6.9% YoY (year-over-year) in Week 3 of this year.

During the week, US railroads hauled 543,111 railcars. Carload traffic grew 7.4% YoY to 258,833 units from 241,000, and intermodal traffic grew 6.5% YoY to 284,278 units from 266,928. Eight of the ten carload commodity groups reported YoY increases in Week 3. Coal, petroleum and petroleum products, and nonmetallic minerals were the highest volume gainers.

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Canadian and Mexican rail traffic

Canadian railroads’ carload and intermodal traffic has continued to grow. During Week 3, Canadian companies’ carload traffic grew 10.6% YoY to 84,670 units, and their intermodal traffic increased 8.8% YoY to 71,008 containers and trailers. Canadian railroads’ cumulative rail traffic grew 11.1% YoY in the first three weeks of this year, or by 443,416 railcars.

Mexican railroads’ traffic downtrend has continued. These companies hauled 18,381 carloads (down 10.7% YoY) and 17,595 intermodal units (down 5.9% YoY) in Week 3. Their cumulative traffic fell 5.3% YoY in the first three weeks of this year, to 102,901 carloads, intermodal containers, and trailers.

Outperformers and underperformers

In Week 3, all major Class I railroads’ (IYT) rail traffic rose YoY, except that of Kansas City Southern (KSU) and BNSF Railway, which fell 0.5% and 0.1%, respectively. Canadian National Railway’s (CNI) YoY rail traffic gain of 12.6% topped the list, while Norfolk Southern (NSC), CSX (CSX), Union Pacific (UNP), and Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) followed with YoY gains of 10.5%, 10%, 9.6%, and 3.6%, respectively. Next, we’ll discuss Canadian National Railway’s traffic.

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