A 13 percent jump in intermodal volume and a nine-day strike at its main rival drove Canadian National Railway's profit up 17.3 percent year-over-year to $618 million.
The top Canadian railroad saw revenue rise 13 percent to about $2.5 billion, as volume increased 4 percent although coal, grain and fertilizer shipments fell 4 percent each. CN’s petroleum and chemical volume rose 6 percent, while the traffic of metal and minerals, the second-largest commodity type after intermodal, inched up 1 percent.
"Our agenda of operational and service excellence continues to gain momentum on all key fronts. If economic growth remains on track in the second half, we should deliver another banner year in 2012," said CN CEO and President Claude Mongeau.
CN, historically the most profitable major railroad in North America, saw its operating ratio of 61.3 percent unchanged. The company’s operating income increased 13 percent to $967 million.
The average revenue per intermodal unit, a key measure of pricing, rose 3 percent, while the average business gained through intermodal units and railcars jumped 8 percent.