How Did Union Pacific’s Rail Traffic Trend in Week 23?


Jun. 17 2019, Updated 1:22 p.m. ET

Union Pacific’s rail traffic

Union Pacific’s (UNP) rail traffic fell 8.7% YoY (year-over-year) in Week 23, which ended on June 8. The company hauled 162,788 railcars during the week—compared to 178,277 railcars in Week 23 of 2018. Five out of seven Class I railroad companies registered lower volumes during the week. Norfolk Southern (NSC) recorded the biggest fall of 9.7%. Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and Canadian National Railway (CNI) were the only two gainers with volume growth of 2.2% and 1.2%, respectively.

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Union Pacific recorded lower volumes across the intermodal and carload units. During the week, the company moved 74,798 intermodal units—compared to 80,792 units in Week 23 of 2018. The railroad company’s container volumes fell 6.8% YoY to 72,079 units from 77,350 units. Union Pacific’s trailer volumes fell 21% YoY to 2,719 units from 3,442 units.

During Week 23, except for Canadian Pacific, all of the Class I railroad companies recorded lower intermodal unit volumes. CSX (CSX) saw the highest volume decline of 10.1%. At 7%, Canadian Pacific was the only company that recorded intermodal volume growth.

Carload traffic fell

Union Pacific’s carload traffic fell 9.7% YoY to 87,990 railcars in Week 23 from 97,485 wagons in Week 23 of 2018. The company’s carload volumes, excluding coal and coke, fell 4.2% YoY to 71,549 units. Union Pacific’s coal and coke traffic fell 27.9% YoY to 16,441 units from 22,801 units.

Union Pacific registered a double-digit carload traffic decline across the grain, farm, forest, coal, coke, iron, lumber, and wood commodity groups. The company recorded volume growth across metallic ores, non-metallic minerals, petroleum, metals, and motor vehicles and equipment products.

Five out of seven Class I railroad companies registered carload traffic declines during Week 23. BNSF Railway reported the highest fall of 10.9%. Canadian National Railway and CSX were the only railroad companies that recorded carload traffic growth of 3.5% and 0.9%, respectively.

Union Pacific stock has returned 20.8% year-to-date. The stock has outperformed the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLI). XLI has gained 17.1% in 2019. XLI has allocated ~17.7% of its funds in the freight and logistics services industry.


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