Prairie grain revenue up as CP books record Q3 profit

An increased grain handle for the three months ending Sept. 30 has helped boost Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) to its highest third-quarter profit ever.

Calgary-based CP released its Q3 results Tuesday, reporting record net income of $400 million on record total revenue of $1.67 billion for the quarter, up from $324 million on $1.534 billion in the year-earlier period. Operating (pre-tax) income for the quarter also hit a record $621 million, up from $524 million in Q3 2013.

Year-to-date profit sits at $1.025 billion on $4.86 billion in revenues, up from $793 million on $4.526 billion over the first three quarters of 2013.

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“Despite recent volatility in commodity prices, we are confident in the strength of the franchise and are on track to finish the year with CP’s strongest quarter to date,” CP CEO Hunter Harrison said in a release.

The company noted Tuesday its Q3 operating ratio also dropped to a record-low 62.8 per cent.

CP’s Canadian grain handling business grossed $248 million handling about 76,000 carloads in Q3, up from $212 million on about 61,000 cars in the year-earlier period, for lower revenue per carload at $3,264, down from $3,512 in Q3 2013.

The company’s year-to-date Canadian grain handle, meanwhile, reached $721 million in revenue on 216,000 carloads, up from $606 million on 181,000 carloads in the year-earlier period, with slightly lower revenue per carload at $3,336, down from $3,350.

CP’s U.S. grain handling business, meanwhile, declined slightly in Q3, hauling 44,000 cars for $127 million in gross revenue, down from 45,000 cars for $107 million in Q3 2013. Revenue per carload, however, rose 22 per cent, to $2,878.

Carloads of potash were flat in Q3 at 24,000, for revenue per carload of $2,917, while fertilizer and sulphur carloads were down slightly at 15,000, for near-unchanged revenue per carload at $3,835.

The railway’s compensation and benefits costs for Q3 rose to $347 million, up from $324 million, while fuel costs rose to $249 million from $226 million. — AGCanada.com Network

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