Canadian Pacific finding rhythm on grains front

by Eric Schroeder
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Canadian Pacific
Railway sets record for grain loading in Canada during September.
 
CALGARY, ALBERTA, CANADA — Although it started the third quarter slow, Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. (CP) picked up the pace and established a rhythm in its grain business, Keith E. Creel, president and chief executive officer, said during an Oct. 17 conference call with analysts.

Keith Creel
Keith E. Creel, president and chief executive officer

“In September, on the Canadian side, we set an all-time grain record for grain loading for this company, an accomplishment that was entirely supply chain-driven and related and we all should be proud of, working in concert both with the ports as well as our partners in business, the grain shippers,” Creel said.

Overall, net income at CP in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 totaled C$510 million, equal to C$3.50 per share, up 47% from C$347 million, or C$2.34 per share, in the same period a year ago. Total revenues increased 3% to C$1.595 billion from C$1.554 billion.

Grain freight revenues in the third quarter totaled C$341 million, down 6% from C$372 million in the same period a year ago. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, grain freight revenues totaled C$1.107 billion, up 6% from C$1.041 billion.

Elaborating on the company’s grain results, John Kenneth Brooks, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, described “two different stories on the grain front.”

“Canadian grain volumes were up 4% for the quarter, while U.S. grain volumes were down 24% against tough comps and weak market conditions,” Brooks said. “The outlook on Canadian grain … has improved a little bit. The staff in Canada recently came out with new predictions in the range of 66 million metric tons for this crop year, and that’s in line with our 3- to 5-year average.

“And we’re off to a strong start. As Keith mentioned, we set an all-time record in September. And I can tell you, our dedicated trains are cycling about 16% faster year-over-year in our key lanes. So despite a smaller crop and smaller expectations in our territory, our customers have signed up for a dedicated train program that’s up 15% year-over-year.”

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