CP revenues up, despite tough first quarter

Canadian Pacific Railway reported a six percent increase in first quarter revenues for the three-month period ending March 31, despite challenging winter conditions that affected freight volumes and operating costs.

Total revenues at CP were listed at $1.77 billion for the quarter, up from $1.66 billion a year earlier.

Despite weather-related challenges, the railway’s quarterly net income rose 25 percent to $434 million, compared to $348 million a year earlier.

In an April 23 conference call with investors, CP president Keith Creel called February “one of the toughest months” in his railroading career due to consistently cold temperatures and a derailment in the Canadian Rockies that killed three CP train crew members.

“The Prairies saw one of the coldest winters in a century, with temperatures 20 to 30 percent colder than what we experienced last year,” Creel said.

“The record-freezing temperatures and snowfall affected supply chains across North America as well as the fluidity of our network.”

CP’s quarterly freight revenues from grain were up four percent, setting a Q1 record, despite lower volumes.

“With network challenges certainly hindering our Canadian grain volumes, as well as continued weakness in U.S. grain, volumes declined four percent,” said chief marketing officer John Brooks.

“However, strong pricing helped to act as an offset, resulting in record Q1 revenue for Canadian grain. And now, with the Port of Thunder Bay open and strong network momentum… I expect grain volumes to remain solid right into early summer.”

Brooks said the first three weeks of April were “very encouraging” with Canadian and American grain volumes trending upward.

The company has now deployed 650 high capacity hopper cars for moving Canadian grain, he added.

“We expect to have approximately 1,900 more in service by the end of this year.”

brian.cross@producer.com

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