Railroad Week in Review:
Third Quarter 2016
Issues. Available in Adobe Acrobat format only. You will need the free Adobe
Week ending September 30
DDGs to China: anti-dumping duties imposed? If so, how and where would that affect US rails? Weekly carloads still trailing last year; manifest carloads down 6%. Cumberland sees improving economics in the oil/gas patch; rails handling drilling materials will do better than rails hauling crude oil, though STCC 29 nat gas derivatives may see some growth. Railroad share prices seem to be climbing faster than traffic potentials warrant; can we save ourselves to prosperity?
Week ending September 23
Why competitive advantage is what gives a company an edge; why durability is crucial. NEARS fall meeting in Portland an object lesson on rail industry use of competitive advantage; examples of business lost due to lack of CA. ASLRRA financial webinar very well done; why knowing one's way around shortline financial statements is essential to making your road a successful endeavor.
Week ending September 16
Genesee & Wyoming August 2016 carloads slip 2.8 percent year-over year; coal decline continues, becoming a smaller part of the carload pie. Chart. Examples of shortline initiatives to please customers and grow the business; why attending industry conferences cements relationships and adds carloads. Shortline scorecard: vols up a point since 2007; AAR down 23% in same period.
Week ending September 9
Why running a railroad is like running a hedge fund; monetizing the best ideas. BNSF new PNW-Texas perishables service; transcon now double-track across the Pecos. Intermodal-carload revenue equivalents. ASLRRA financial webinar promises to be very worthwhile.
Week ending September 2
Why I think there is additional carload business to be had if only the service product had a competitive advantage; are rails are losing share to trucks? More on the "block for the distant node" argument; three ways for short lines can reduce dwell at interchange. Rail vols continue weekly slippage; chart shows merch carloads covering for lost coal faster than intermodal. Impact of low oil prices on drillers' credit lines and why short lines must pay attention.
Week ending August 26
Why share prices for industry-specific ETFs provide an excellent tool for staying ahead of rail traffic trends; listing the top four gainers in percentage change. Finding nuggets in analyst reports: Deere, home-builders. LIRC-CSX track usage agreement implemented; why it's important to each. Excerpts from Stephanie Pomboy Barron's interview: "Policy makers have really got it ass-backwards. They're taxing the economy, not stimulating it." Implications for the carload business.
Week ending August 19
GWR to acquire Providence & Worcester for $126mm, closing in Q4; anticipates doubling ebitda on same revs. Why creating customers is Job Number One for all railroads; quality in the eyes of the customer. Wick Moorman takes top job at Amtrak effective Sep 1. Finally, somebody who understands the delicate dance between Amtrak and its freight-railroad hosts!
Week ending August 12
BNSF second quarter 2016 freight revenues off 15 percent due largely to a 42 percent coal hit; merchandise carload revenue off by nine percent. Challenges for NA railroads in a de-globalizing world. July carloads chart from the AAR a sea of red; why, and what can we do about it? Could be a question to raise at the UP shortline meeting next week.
Week ending August 5
Genesee & Wyoming second quarter North American revenue $227 million, down five percent on 386,123 carloads, off seven percent. Central Maine & Quebec Railway Q2 carloads increase 15 percent year-over-year to nearly 7,000 units; RPU up 21 percent. Corman Carolina Lines Railroad to benefit from $9.7 million TIGER grant. US Steel fortunes looking up; crude by rail cools. Two reader success stories: rock in Texas and merch carloads in Penna. FreightCar America moving out of its open top (OT) hopper comfort zone.
Week ending July 29
Canadian National total Q2 revenue units decline 11.7% to 1.2 mm units; freight revenue C$2.6 billion. Norfolk Southern Norfolk Southern handles 1.8 mm revenue units in Q2, down 7%; revenue drops 10% to $2.5 billion. North Shore Railroad promotes three. Watco starts operating Norfolk Southern's new Thoroughbred Bulk Terminal (TBT) in Sandusky, Ohio.
Week ending July 22
Union Pacific second quarter revenue units drop 10.5 percent on freight revenues down 12.6 percent; system RPU dips 2.3 percent; fuel surcharge (FSC) fees cloud the picture, being about $200 million less than a year ago. KCS second quarter revenue units unchanged at 537K in spite of drops of a thousand units or more in ores/minerals, frac sand, and intermodal; total revenue declines three percent to $547 mm. Canadian Pacific in Q2 moves 614K revenue units, down eight percent year-over-year, with total revenue C$1.45 billion, down 13 percent. System RPU was down five percent due in part to double-digit drops in grain (both Canadian and US), and crude oil.
Week ending July 15
Why "inflation-plus pricing" is wearing thin. Rapid City Pierre & Eastern completes six $million side-track project in South Dakota. Slowing gasoline draw-downs affect shale-oil drillers and the railroads that supply them. BNSF total year-to-date revenue units drift south nine percent year-over-year. CSX Q2 results disappoint though the railroad is running much better than a year ago. Charith Perera, co-founder and CEO of ShipXpress, passed away.
[no issue July 8]
Week ending July 1
Here's how Nittany & Bald Eagle Railroad (part of the North Shore Group) dealt with a unique bridge clearance problem for a high and wide load. Why It seems the Canadian railroads are no better off than their US counterparts in dealing with squishy freight transportation demand. Year-to-date carload comps for Class Is and non-Class Is; tables. What the rails can do about the rapidly-evolving sharing economy and its potential impact on freight transportation.