Behind Norfolk Southern Freight Volumes in Week 27
Norfolk Southern’s railcars
Norfolk Southern (NSC) offers freight rail services in the Eastern US and competes directly with CSX (CSX). NSC departed from its upward volume journey in the week ended July 8, 2017, which was the 27th week of the year. The company reported a marginal YoY (year-over-year) decline of 1.9% in its freight volumes, hauling ~56,000 railcars, compared with 57,000 railcars during the same week in 2016.
Though the coal volumes were up, NSC’s freight traffic minus coal declined last week.
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NSC’s other-than-coal volumes were close to 42,000 railcars, down from ~43,000 railcars last year. The percentage change in NSC’s overall railcars came in contrast to the favorable change reported by overall US railroads (XLI) last week.
Norfolk Southern’ coal volumes
In the week ended July 8, 2017, coal’s share in NSC’s total railcars rose 1% on a YoY (year-over-year) basis. Weekly coal (ARLP) volumes rose 2.3% YoY to ~14,000 carloads.
NSC’s coal (CNX) and coke carloads jumped 23% YoY in the first 27 weeks of the current fiscal year. This growth is in line with the increase recorded by US railroads for that commodity group.
The EIA (US Energy information administration) expects the share of coal in US total electricity generation to rise from 30% in 2016 to 31% in 2017 and next year.
Rises and declines in commodity groups
In the week ended July 8, 2017, these commodities saw gains:
- crushed stone, sand, and gravel
- grain mill products
- metals and products
These commodity groups were in the red:
- iron and steel scrap
- motor vehicles and equipment
- petroleum products
- stone, clay, and glass products
In the next part, we’ll examine Norfolk Southern’s intermodal traffic.