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Strong Carload Volume Boosts Canadian National’s Rail Traffic

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

Canadian National Railway

In Week 23, Canadian National Railway’s (CNI) total traffic volumes improved 1.2% YoY (year-over-year) to 117,789 railcars from 116,381 railcars. Five of the seven Class I railroad companies registered YoY declines in their freight rail traffic during the week. Norfolk Southern (NSC) recorded the highest fall of 9.7%. Apart from Canadian National Railway, Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) reported rail traffic growth of 2.2%.

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Higher carload volumes mainly drove the YoY increase in Canadian National Railway’s overall rail traffic. The company’s carload traffic grew 3.5% YoY to 66,189 railcars in Week 23 from 63,975 wagons in Week 23 of 2018. The company’s carload traffic, excluding coal and coke, increased 1.6% YoY to 59,119 railcars from 58,175 railcars. Canadian National Railway’s coal and coke traffic rose 21.9% YoY to 7,070 units from 5,800 units in Week 23.

The company recorded volume growth across the petroleum, non-metallic minerals, metal, coal, grain, and metallic ores commodity groups. The forest, chemicals, automotive, and coke commodities groups saw volume declines.

Five of the seven Class I railroad companies recorded lower carload traffic in Week 23. BNSF Railway recorded the highest carload traffic decline of 10.9%. Canadian National Railway and CSX (CSX) were the two railroad companies that recorded carload volume growth. CSX registered traffic growth of 0.9%.

Intermodal traffic fell

Canadian National Railway’s intermodal volume fell 1.5% YoY to 51,600 units from 52,406 units in Week 23 of 2018. Six of the seven Class I railroad companies recorded lower intermodal volumes during Week 23. CSX registered the highest fall of 10.1%. Canadian Pacific was the only company that reported an intermodal volume gain of 7%.

Canadian National Railway stock has returned 23.4% year-to-date. The stock has outpaced the returns of the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLI), which has risen 17.1%. XLI has allocated 17.7% of its holdings to the freight and logistics services industry.

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