Weak Intermodal Performance Hurt Canadian Pacific’s Rail Traffic



Intermodal units

Canadian Pacific’s (CP) total rail traffic fell 2% YoY (year-over-year) to 50,229 railcars in Week 5 from the 51,240 railcars in the same week last year.

The YoY (year-over-year) decline was mainly the result of its intermodal volumes falling drastically by 8.1% YoY to 18,357 containers and trailers from 19,985 units. However, an improvement in its carload traffic partially offset the fall in its overall rail traffic volumes.

During Week 5, all Class I railroad companies recorded YoY declines in intermodal units. CSX (CSX) was the worst performer with a 17.8% YoY plunge in its intermodal units. Union Pacific (UNP) reported the smallest fall of 1.8% in Week 5 intermodal volumes.

Carload traffic

Canadian Pacific’s carload traffic grew 2% YoY to 31,872 railcars from 31,255 railcars in the same week of 2018. The company was the only Class I railroad company (IYT) to report a YoY increase in carload traffic. With a plunge of 14% in carload traffic, Norfolk Southern (NSC) remained the worst performer in Week 5.

Carload traffic excluding coal and coke, which accounted for 81% of Canadian Pacific’s total carload traffic in Week 5, inched up 1.5% YoY to 25,772 railcars from 25,390 railcars. Moreover, its coal and coke traffic grew 4% YoY to 6,100 units from 5,865 units in Week 5 of 2018.

Canadian Pacific registered volume growth across coal, potash, forest, energy, chemicals, and plastic products. The company registered double-digit volume declines in metals, minerals, fertilizer, sulfur, and consumer commodity products.

For the first five weeks of 2019, Canadian Pacific reported cumulative volumes of 149,491 carloads, up 4.2% from the same period last year. The company’s intermodal units inched up 1% YoY to 86,713 containers and trailers. Its combined rail traffic in the first five weeks of 2019 increased 3% YoY to 236,204 carloads and intermodal units compared to the previous year.

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