Why Did Kansas City Southern’s Rail Traffic Grow?



Kansas City Southern

Kansas City Southern (KSU) reported a 1.8% YoY (year-over-year) improvement in its overall rail traffic in Week 20. The company hauled 44,959 units during the week compared to 44,165 units in Week 20 of 2018. Four of the seven Class I railroad companies recorded volume growth. Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) registering the highest increase of 2.8%. Union Pacific (UNP) was the worst performer with a decline of 4.2% YoY.

The YoY growth in Kansas City Southern’s overall rail traffic was mainly due to a strong increase in carload volumes. The railroad company’s carload traffic grew 5.8% YoY to 25,821 units from 24,396 units in the same week the previous year.

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Kansas City Southern’s carload traffic for commodities, excluding coal and coke, rose 9.1% YoY to 22,879 units from 20,978 units. The company’s coal and coke traffic fell 13.9% YoY to 2,942 railcars from 3,418 railcars. Kansas City Southern’s grain, nonmetallic minerals, chemicals, petroleum, and metal volumes grew, while its coal, coke, metallic ores, and motor vehicles and equipment traffic fell YoY.

Six of the seven Class I railroad companies recorded carload traffic growth during Week 20, while one company registered a decline. Kansas City Southern registered the biggest gain, while Union Pacific reported the highest fall of 2.5%.

Intermodal units

Kansas City Southern’s intermodal volumes fell 3.2% YoY to 19,138 units from 19,769 units in the same week in 2018. Except for Canadian Pacific, all of the Class I railroad companies recorded intermodal volume declines during Week 20. Canadian Pacific’s intermodal traffic grew 3.3%. CSX (CSX) registered the highest intermodal decline of 11%.

Kansas City Southern stock has returned 27.1% YTD (year-to-date) and outperformed the Industrial Select Sector SPDR Fund’s (XLI) gains of 16.8% YTD. XLI invests in industrial stocks listed in the S&P 500. XLI has allocated 17.7% of its fund to the freight and logistics services industry.


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