Railroad Week in Review:
Fourth Quarter 2016
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Week ending December 2
Five years of railroad performance: shrinking volumes, middling net income growth, and no eps growth absent buy-backs or splits; chart. Why it's time to get back to basics and start creating customers once again; enhancing the customer experience. Truck spot rates remain elevated; chances for finding truck-competitive short-haul moves.
Week ending November 18
Genesee & Wyoming North American carloads for October came down a mere 2%; the top 80% of all revenue units comes from the "heat and eat" categories. GWR officially closes its purchase of the P&W, shares move to voting trust; carloads move to GWR monthly tally when trust ends. Initial thoughts from RailTrends 2016 in NYC. Why I think Reg FD limits what Class Is can present at short line meetings.
Week ending November 11
Now that all the Q3 results are in, it's useful to compare strengths and weaknesses; Union Pacific was the best merch carload (ag, industrial, auto) performer among US Class Is, down only 1.7%. Reading & Northern carloads through October surpass full-year record set in in 2015; merchandise carloads ex-coal are up nearly 15%, R&N adding assets to handle new biz. New York & Atlantic Railway promotes Jim Bonner to President, Marlon Taylor to full VP. Pennsylvania & Southern, Raritan Central expand transload capabilities. RailTrends Nov 17-18 in NYC. Railway Equipment Finance offers 50% discount to short lines; La Quinta, Calif., Mar 5-8.
Week ending October 28
BNSF holds its Shortline Annual Conference once again at the Worthington Renaissance hotel in downtown Fort Worth October 19-20; nearly 300 souls take part. CN reports Q3 revenue off 6% to C$3.0 billion, operating expense down 7%; resultant 53.3 OR a quarterly record. Norfolk Southern the only Class I with no appreciable 3Q ops income decrease; revs $2.5 billion, off 7%; ops expense down 10%, OR 67.5, down 220 basis points. RailTrends returns to the W Hotel on Lexington Ave in NYC Nov 17-18.
Week ending October 21
Three Class I railroads reported third quarter earnings this week. KCS leads off with five percent sequential volume growth and six percent revenue growth for the quarter; year-over-year revenue slippage was a mere point, excluding FX and fuel deltas. CP freight revenues slip nine percent; big bites in Canadian grain, metals/minerals. UP freight revenue down five percent ex-fuel surcharges; revenue units slip six percent. Jim McClellan, retired SVP for Planning at NS, dies at 77.
Week ending October 14
The official AAR North American rail traffic score for Week 39 has total revenue units off 6.6 percent, but it's useful to know where the strengths and weaknesses lie. Chart. The $64 question is why, with rail traffic trending southward, car builders are seeing any orders at all; David Nahass has an answer. CSX leads off earnings season with a great call in terms of transparency and actions going forward.
Week ending October 7
Potash supply-demand mismatch affecting rail carloadings; producers on hold, China wants more. ATA convenes in Vegas; Stifel's John Larkin interviews principal players, uncovers rail opportunities. Why regional railroads excel at ferreting out new carload business; I name seven who've made names for themselves building their franchises to thousands of carloads after starting with hundreds.