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Week 36: Hurricanes Impacted North American Rail Freight Traffic

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Part 3
Week 36: Hurricanes Impacted North American Rail Freight Traffic PART 3 OF 10

Why CSX’s Overall Freight Volumes Declined in Week 36

CSX’s railcar traffic

Based in Jacksonville, Florida, CSX (CSX) operates ~21,000 route miles in the Eastern United States. It also has operations in the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. In the week ended September 9, 2017, CSX registered a 4.2% fall in railcar volumes. The company hauled 65,000 railcars in that week compared with ~68,000 in the week ended September 10, 2016.

CSX’s railcar volumes excluding coal and coke also fell 8.2% in the same week. The volumes exceeded 47,000 railcars compared with more than 51,000 units in the 36th week of 2016. Some respite was offered by coal and coke, which saw volumes in the green zone. These volumes jumped 8.1% to ~18,000 railcars from more than 16,000 railcars in 2016.

Why CSX’s Overall Freight Volumes Declined in Week 36

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Hurricane Irma affected East Coast Class I railroads such as Norfolk Southern (NSC) and CSX. CSX canceled its presentation at a Morgan Stanley (MS) conference in California due to Hurricane Irma’s impact on its network in Miami, Florida.

Ups and downs in commodity groups

In the 36th week of 2017, CSX saw only three commodity groups posting volume gains—primary metal products, non-metallic minerals, and lumber and wood products.

The commodity groups with a higher loss of volumes were:

  • petroleum products (UGAZ)
  • crushed stone
  • sand and gravel
  • waste and non-ferrous scrap
  • motor vehicles and parts

Why CSX’s Overall Freight Volumes Declined in Week 36

CSX’s intermodal traffic in week 36

Hurricane Irma impacted CSX’s intermodal traffic in the week ended September 9, 2017. This metric fell 1.5% to 47,500 containers and trailers compared with more than 48,000 units in the week ended September 10, 2016.

Containers account for more than 95% of CSX’s intermodal traffic. In the 36th week, container traffic declined 1.3% to ~46,000 units. The company’s trailer volumes fell 6.5%. CSX hauled 1,600 trailers in the reported week of 2017 compared with less than 1,800 trailers in 2016.

Norfolk Southern’s overall freight volumes were in the green zone in contrast with CSX’s volumes in week 36 of 2017.

Next, we’ll turn to Union Pacific (UNP).

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