Inside CSX’s Week 25 Railcar Freight Volumes



CSX’s carloads

Jacksonville-based CSX Corporation (CSX) reported a 4.5% rise in its total railcar volumes excluding intermodal in the week ended June 24, 2017. In the week, the company moved over 70,000 railcars, compared to over 67,000 railcars in the week ended June 25, 2016.

The rise in overall volumes was limited by the slump recorded by CSX’s railcars other than coal and coke. These railcars’ volumes fell 2.2% in the reported week of 2017. The company’s railcars excluding coal and coke fell to ~53,000 in the week, compared to ~54,000 in the same week in 2016.

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Coal carloads

Along with rival Norfolk Southern (NSC), CSX reported a healthy rise in its coal carloads in the week. In percentage terms, its coal carloads almost doubled compared to the rise reported by NSC. Note that coal railcars’ share of total railcars rose to 24.8% in the reported week, compared to 19.7% in the 25th week of 2016.

The company moved over 17,000 railcars in the week ended June 24, 2017, compared to over 13,000 railcars in the comparable week last year.

Current coal dynamics

According to the EIA (U.S. Energy Information Administration), natural gas’s (UNG) share in total US electricity generation is likely to fall from an average of 34% in 2016 to ~32% in 2017 and 2018. Coal, an alternative to natural gas, is expected to contribute 31% of US electricity generation in 2017 and 2018, compared to 30% last year.

The reversal of 2016’s coal dynamics should benefit US coal producers such as CONSOL Energy (CNX) and Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP).

Changes in commodity groups

The commodities with higher volumes in the week were as follows:

  • grain
  • chemicals
  • waste and nonferrous scrap
  • nonmetallic minerals

The main commodity groups with lower volumes were as follows:

  • petroleum and petroleum products
  • primary metal products
  • metallic ore
  • lumber and wood products

Next, we’ll compare CSX’s intermodal volumes with the industry’s.


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