Canadian Pacific leads industry volume for second straight year

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Chart showing railroad volume changes for 2020

In a year when all of the big Class I railroads lost volume due to the economic impact of the pandemic, Canadian Pacific came out on top.

CP’s volume declined 2.2% in 2020, well above the average 6.8% decline of the big six systems, according to a Trains News Wire review of the railroads’ weekly carload reports. CP led the big six systems in volume growth in 2019, too.

CSX Transportation, which placed second with a 5.7% decline in overall traffic in 2020, posted the largest intermodal gain in the industry. The railroad’s intermodal volume grew 1.5%. CP, at a 0.3% gain, was the only other railroad in positive intermodal territory.

Canadian National, with an overall volume decline of 6.1%, was the only other railroad above the industry average.

In the western U.S., Union Pacific edged out BNSF Railway. UP’s traffic fell 7% for the year, while BNSF’s declined 7.6%.

The cellar dweller for the year was Norfolk Southern, which suffered the deepest declines in intermodal, carload, and coal traffic. Its overall volume was down 11.9%.

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