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Analyzing KSU’s Rail Traffic Performance in Week 23

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Jun. 17 2019, Updated 1:21 p.m. ET

Rail traffic fell

Kansas City Southern’s (KSU) rail traffic fell 4.8% in Week 23. The company hauled 44,317 units during the week—compared to 46,548 units in Week 23 of 2018. Five out of seven Class I railroad companies recorded lower volumes during the week. Norfolk Southern (NSC) registered the highest fall of 9.7%. Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and Canadian National Railway (CNI) were the only two volume gainers. They recorded 2.2% and 1.2% growth, respectively.

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Kansas City Southern reported a YoY (year-over-year) decline in intermodal and carload units. The company’s intermodal volumes fell 5% YoY to 19,082 units from 20,079 units in Week 23 of 2018. Six of the seven Class I railroad companies recorded lower intermodal volumes during Week 23. CSX (CSX) registered the highest fall of 10.1%. Canadian Pacific was the only volume gainer with a rise of 7% YoY.

Carload traffic fell

Kansas City Southern’s carload traffic fell 4.7% YoY to 25,235 railcars from 26,469 railcars. Five of the seven Class I railroad companies recorded lower carload traffic in Week 23. BNSF Railway registered the highest fall of 10.9%. Canadian National Railway and CSX were the two railroad companies that recorded carload traffic growth of 3.5% and 0.9%, respectively.

Kansas City Southern’s carload traffic for commodities, excluding coal and coke, fell 5.8% YoY to 21,081 units from 22,369 units. However, the company’s coal and coke traffic grew 1.3% YoY to 4,154 railcars from 4,100 railcars. The company recorded volume declines across grain, farm, metallic ores, non-metallic minerals, pulp, paper, chemicals, coke, and metal commodities. Kansas City Southern’s coal, petroleum, and motor vehicle and equipment products’ volumes grew YoY.

Kansas City Southern stock has returned 22.5% YTD (year-to-date). The stock has outperformed the returns of the SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN), which invests in US transportation companies. XTN has allocated 42.8% of its funds to the freight and logistics services industry. XTN has gained 13.4% YTD.

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