(Adds same-railroad traffic figures and September information.)
DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
Genesee & Wyoming Inc.'s (GWR:$53.7900,$0.8100,1.53%) carload traffic continued its rise in the third quarter and through September, marking the railroad operator's 19th straight month of year-over-year gains.
A recovery in manufacturing activity and overall economic improvement have buoyed freight demand for railroads and other types of shippers. Additionally, Genesee's monthly traffic reports have been improving on acquisitions like its Arizona Eastern Railway takeover last month and FreightLink purchase last year.
Genesee, which operates short-line and regional freight railroads in the U.S., Canada, Australia and the Netherlands, said carloads rose 13% to 83,608 last month, compared with September 2010. Excluding 7,147 carloads from FreightLink and 1,176 from Arizona Eastern, the increase was 2.1%, thanks to better coal and coke traffic, the company said.
Shipments of coal and coke, its largest category by volume, rose 11% in September, while minerals and stone, its second-highest volume category, rose 1.8%. Farm and food products, as well as metals, saw healthy gains, but pulp and paper, lumber and forest products, and autos and auto parts all dropped in volume.
For the third quarter, carloads rose 15% to 256,190 from a year earlier. Excluding 21,635 carloads from FreightLink and 1,176 from Arizona Eastern, same- railroad traffic rose 4.9% on better farm and food products and coal and coke traffic.
The improved traffic helped propel Genesee's second-quarter profit up 51%.
Shares closed Wednesday at $53.79 and were inactive premarket. -------------------------------------