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How CSX’s Intermodal Volumes Compared in Week 13 of 2017

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CSX’s intermodal volumes

In recent weeks, CSX’s (CSX) intermodal traffic has been on an upward path. In the week ended April 1, 2017, CSX’s total intermodal traffic increased to 9.5%.

The company’s overall intermodal volumes exceeded 55,000, compared to ~50,500 units in the week ended April 2, 2016. Trailer volumes remained flat compared to the same period in 2016, totaling 1,900 units.

The percentage rise in CSX’s intermodal volumes was lower than the rise reported by rival Norfolk Southern (NSC) during the same period. In the 13th week of 2017, the rise in CSX’s intermodal traffic was almost double the rise reported by US railroad companies overall.

Investors interested in comparing this week’s freight volume data with the previous week’s data can visit Market Realist’s Week 12: North American Freight Rail Traffic on the Fast Track.

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Why intermodal matters for CSX

Key corridors such as I-95, I-90, and certain Southeastern US corridors drive growth in merchandise and intermodal volumes. CSX expects 96% clearance for its double-stack container traffic on the East Coast at the end of 2017. CSX’s new Carolina Connector terminal is expected to provide hub connectivity to additional lanes in the mid-Atlantic market.

For CSX, excess truck capacity is a deterrent to intermodal business growth. The company expects some short-haul volume losses in the domestic intermodal space over the next few quarters. However, the company is hopeful that its implementation of trucking regulations such as the electronic logging device could tighten truck capacity. These regulations could lead to higher intermodal volumes in the future.

Railroad companies (GWR) are four times more fuel-efficient than trucks (JBHT), and about half of US rail intermodal volume consists of imports and exports. Railroads are also more environmentally desirable than truck freight transportation, given the latter’s heavy reliance on highways.

ETFs

If you prefer broad-based exposure to the transportation space, you could consider the VanEck Vectors Morningstar Wide Moat ETF (MOAT). All major US-originated railroad companies are included in MOAT’s portfolio.

Continue to the next article to learn about Union Pacific’s (UNP) freight volumes and its trends.

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