Short-line rail operator Genesee & Wyoming increased carloads 7.9 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, although traffic in December was up only 0.6 percent compared with December 2010, the holding company said Friday.
In North America, which accounts for nearly 79 percent of Genesee & Wyoming’s freight volume, carload traffic was up 2.2 percent in December from a year ago and increased 2.7 percent from November, totaling 64,649 carloads.
The company’s freight volume was boosted by acquisitions including FreightLink in 2010 and Arizona Eastern Railroad in 2011. Excluding traffic gained from those carriers, Genesee & Wyoming’s carloads were almost flat in the quarter.
An 0.4 percent decrease in “same-railroad” traffic was principally due to a decrease of 5,626 carloads of coal and coke traffic, which was partially offset by an increase of 4,352 carloads of metals traffic, the Greenwich, Conn.-based company said.
Metals shipments in North America increased 31.7 percent year-over-year in December, while dropping 3.9 percent from November. Auto parts shipments increased 13.8 percent year over year but fell 6.7 percent from the previous month.
Over the course of the fourth quarter, shipments of metallic ores nearly doubled. Carloads of metals increased 31 percent from a year ago, while minerals and stone shipments rose 9.5 percent from the same period in 2010, the rail operator said.
North American intermodal traffic dropped 17 percent in December and 8.8 percent in the fourth quarter from the same periods in 2010. Genesee & Wyoming added intermodal to its portfolio with the acquisition of FreightLink in 2010.
Genesee & Wyoming railroads handled 246,794 carloads in the fourth quarter, an increase of 18,077 carloads compared with the fourth quarter of 2010. The company owns 65 railroads in 10 regions, including the U.S. and Canada.
The rail operator released its traffic data in advance of its fourth quarter and full year earnings report. In the third quarter, net profit jumped 32.6 percent to $32.9 million, as Genesee & Wyoming flexed pricing power on increased freight traffic.