Rail traffic downtrend continued at KSU

The downtrend in Kansas City Southern’s (KSU) rail traffic volumes continued for the fourth straight week in Week 5. The smallest Class I railroad company moved 40,478 railcars in the fifth week of 2019, down 6.9% from the 43,495 railcars it carried in Week 5 of 2018.

How Rail Traffic Trended for Kansas City Southern in Week 5

During the week, all major Class I railroad companies’ (FTXR) rail traffic declined YoY. Norfolk Southern (NSC) and CSX (CSX) reported the highest plunges in the fifth week at 11.9% each. Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) recorded the smallest decline of 2% in rail traffic volumes in Week 5.

Kansas City Southern’s weak rail traffic performance was mainly the result of a drastic fall in its intermodal volumes. The company’s intermodal units plunged 15.5% YoY to 14,960 containers and trailers from 17,696 units. Its container volumes declined 15.3% YoY to 14,730 units from 17,399 units, and its trailer traffic plunged 22.6% YoY to 230 units from 297 units.

In the fifth week, all major Class I railroad companies reported YoY declines in their traffic volumes. KSU’s intermodal decline was the second highest after CSX’s 17.8% plunge.

Carload traffic

In the fifth week, Kansas City Southern’s carload traffic inched down 1.1% YoY to 25,518 units from 25,799 units. Commodities excluding coal and coke, which accounted for 82% of KSU’s total carload traffic in Week 5, inched down 0.9% YoY to 21,002 units from 21,183 units. Moreover, its coal and coke traffic shrank 2.2% YoY to 4,516 railcars from 4,616 railcars.

Coal, petroleum, nonmetallic minerals, and chemical products recorded YoY volume gains. Commodities including motor vehicles and equipment and metals registered massive declines in volumes.

All major Class I railroad companies reported declines in their carload traffic in Week 5 except for Canadian Pacific, which recorded a 2% improvement. Norfolk Southern reported the highest fall in carload traffic of 14%.

Next, we’ll look at Union Pacific’s Week 5 rail traffic performance.

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