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Here's What Drove Growth in US Rail Freight in Week 39

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Part 2
Here's What Drove Growth in US Rail Freight in Week 39 PART 2 OF 8

Inside Norfolk Southern’s Freight Volume Growth in Week 39

NSC’s freight traffic in week 39

Last week (ended September 30, 2017), Norfolk Southern (NSC), an Eastern US major rail carrier, posted a 1.8% gain in railcar traffic. The company’s railcars totaled ~71,000 units, compared with ~70,000 units in the week ended October 1, 2016.

Last week was the 39th week of 2017, and NSC saw a decline in coal (ARLP) and coke volumes that was offset by a 3.3% rise in volumes other than coal and coke. NSC’s railcars excluding coal and coke totaled ~51,000, up from ~50,000 in the 39th week of 2016. The company’s coal and coke railcars fell 2% to ~19,600 railcars from ~20,000 railcars last year.

Inside Norfolk Southern&#8217;s Freight Volume Growth in Week 39

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Change in commodity groups in week 39

In the 39th week of 2017, the following commodity groups posted higher volumes:

  • chemicals
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • grain
  • pulp, paper, and allied products

The commodity groups with lower year-over-year volumes included:

  • waste and scrap materials
  • motor vehicles and equipment (TSLA)
  • grain mill products
  • petroleum products (UGAZ)

Inside Norfolk Southern&#8217;s Freight Volume Growth in Week 39

NSC’s intermodal volumes last week

Last week, Norfolk Southern posted 5.8% gains in total intermodal traffic, reaching ~85,000 trailers and containers, compared with ~81,000 units in the week ended October 1, 2016.

For Norfolk Southern, containers accounted for nearly 90% of intermodal volumes. The company recorded a substantial 18.9% growth in trailer traffic in the 39th week of 2017.

Trailer volumes reached ~7,900 units, compared with over 6,600 units in the corresponding week of 2016. NSC hauled 77,500 containers last week, which was 4.7% higher than the 74,000 units we saw in the same week last year.

Now let’s look at CSX’s (CSX) freight volumes last week.

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