Railroad Week in Review:
First Quarter 2016
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Week ending March 25
The whys behind Week 10 comps; clues in AAR's Rail Time Indicators. Morgan Stanley Spring Outlook and shifting commodity lanes; effects on US shortlines. Two avoidable parts of the railroad transaction cost: time lag between rate request and rate quote; car-tracing and filling in for late arrivals. Why short lines may be better rate negotiators than railroad customers.
Week ending March 18
Comparing share price performance of railroads and their suppliers; sanity-checking with DJ Transport Index. Why steel and oil-related carloads are down; impact on short line carloads. Rian Nemeroff to Reading & Northern.
Week ending March 11
Notes from CSX Short Line Workshop; how the short lines' merch carload business can benefit from the inevitable shift away from utility and export coal. Further BNSF full year 2015 details from the 10-K. GWR Feb carloads ex-coal up 5%; 6 of 7 top commodity groups up YOY, coal the only exception.
Week ending March 4
Why 2% annual railroad revenue growth may not be the end of the world. Full-year 2015 BNSF results: vols unchanged, operating income up 10%, OR 64.9, down 4.9 points. CP files shelf prospectus permitting Pershing to sell shares. NS realigns to two regions from three. CSX makes it six years in a row for Fortune's Most Admired Companies list.
Week ending February 26
How the Feds adopting a negative interest rate policy can affect short lines. Forest products carloadvolumes improve somewhat; NS tool for sourcing STCC 24 goods closer to home. Rod Case details damage from expected events; how better management oversight can reduce same. MidRail Corporation joins the North American community of shortline holding companies.
Week ending February 19
Greetings: Four-year CAGRs for Class I total vols and manifest carloads; not what one could call robust, though we seem still to be in business. CN's Luc Jobin tells Barclays conference why they seek "sticky" customer relationships. Hunter Harrison says they've gone for STB Declaratory Order; options for proceeding from here. Wilner on how DOs work. CSX details successes in offsetting coal losses with a "focus on the things most in our control."
Week ending February 12
GWR fourth quarter 2015 North American revenue units sank 15% year-over-year; NA revenues down 13%. Jan carloads down 17% yoy. The Railway Industry Working Group meets to discuss, among other things, disposition of paper barrier waiver requests made by non-Class Is, Interline Service Agreement compliance, and interpretation of the Railway Industry Working Agreement itself; boxcar study in the works.
Week ending February 5
Commodity carloads for the first three weeks of 2016 decline nine percent from where they were a year ago; table. Industrial production in the US is not exactly robust; AAR data. Canadian Pacific releases yet another White Paper, "CP–NS: A Comprehensive Approach to Regulatory Approval."
Week ending January 29
Canadian National fourth quarter results blow the competition for the earnings brass ring completely out of the tub; bests all comers in 7 out of 10 performance measures. Norfolk Southern less fortunate: fourth quarter operating income declines 28 percent, total revenue sinks 12 percent, revenue units skid seven percent, and RPU loses six percent year-over-year. Why shares of all four freight car builders plus Wabtec are on the uptick. Wanted: storage space for unit coal trains.
Week ending January 22
None of the four of the Class I railroads reporting fourth quarter earnings thus far posted year-over-year revenue gains. Union Pacific reports $4.9 billion in fourth quarter freight revenue, off 16 percent, and operating income of $1.9 billion, down 19 percent. Canadian Pacific freight revenue C$1.6 billion, down four percent, on 649,000 revenue units, down six percent. KCS total revenue decreases seven percent to $598 million as total revenue units slip three percent to 556 million.
Week ending January 15
CSX kicks off the Q4 earnings season on a down note; total revenue declines 13 percent on six percent fewer rev units. NS to combine its Virginia and Pocahontas Divisions to form an expanded Pocahontas Division, effective Feb 1; HQ Roanoke. UP says no to mergers. CP issues White Paper on what they see as the compelling rationale for combining with NS. STB sets up web page with CP-NS comments received thus far.
Week ending January 8
We're off to a New Year and it doesn't look especially promising. It's still a two-percent economy and if you can eke out two percent more carloads this year over last be grateful. Railroad shares may have taken abath in 2015, but over the longer term, not bad; table. RBN Energy's Annual "Top Ten Energy Prognostications" speaks volumes. Monday's Transport Outlook note from Stifel sets up a number of possible trends for 2016; what short lines can do right now to prepare. A new model for Tony Hatch's Railroad Renaissance. Greenbrier (GBX) posts solid earnings for the quarter ending Nov 30; Cowen's Matt Elkottcomments.