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What Drove Canadian National’s Rail Traffic Higher?

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Rail traffic

Canadian National Railway (CNI) recorded a 1.9% YoY (year-over-year) improvement in its overall rail traffic in Week 17. The company hauled 120,400 railcars, containers, and trailers in the week compared to 118,109 units in Week 17 of 2018.

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Among the seven Class I railroad companies (XTN), five recorded a volume decline, while two registered growth in Week 17. Apart from Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) registered a volume gain of 8.7%. CSX (CSX) and Norfolk Southern (NSC) were the worst performers with traffic declines of 5.1% each.

Higher intermodal volumes mainly drove the YoY increase in Canadian National Railway’s overall rail traffic. The company’s intermodal volumes grew 3.9% YoY to 52,585 containers and trailers in the week from 50,605 units. During the week, only Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway recorded YoY improvements in their intermodal unit volumes. CSX was the worst performer with a volume decline of 10.9%.

Carload traffic

The largest Canadian railroad company’s carload traffic rose 0.5% YoY in Week 17 to 67,815 railcars from 67,504 railcars. During the week, every Class I railroad company recorded carload traffic gains except Norfolk Southern and CSX, which registered volume declines of 7.3% and 0.6%, respectively. Canadian Pacific Railway reported the highest carload volume gain of 10.6%.

Canadian National Railway’s carload traffic, excluding coal and coke, grew 0.7% YoY to 60,438 railcars from 60,037 railcars. However, the company’s coal and coke traffic fell 1.2% YoY to 7,377 units from 7,467 units in Week 17 of 2018.

Canadian National Railway registered volume declines across forest, coke, chemicals, non-metallic minerals, metals and minerals, automotive, and farm products. Commodity groups like petroleum, metallic ores, coal, and grain products recorded volume gains.

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