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Inside Norfolk Southern Trailers and Containers in Week 27

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Jul. 17 2017, Updated 9:09 a.m. ET

Norfolk Southern’s intermodal volumes

Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) overall intermodal volumes declined 0.3% YoY (year-over-year) in the week ended July 8, 2017. The company moved over 64,000 containers and trailers in the 27th week of 2017, which was almost same as last year’s volumes for the same week.

Container volumes contracted by 1.5% to ~59,000, down from 60,000 units last year. However, trailer volumes closed in the green. Norfolk Southern moved 723 more trailers than the 4,400 trailers it hauled in the 27th week of last year.

The fall in NSC’s overall intermodal traffic contrasted with the rise reported by US railroads in the same category for the same week.

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NSC’s intermodal traffic in the first 27 weeks

In the first 27 weeks of 2017, NSC’s overall intermodal traffic rose 4.8% YoY. During the same period, reporting US railroads posted a 2.7% rise in the same category.

Trailers typically constitute less than 10% of total intermodal volumes. While containers grew by 3.8%, trailers saw a rise of 15% in the first 27 weeks of 2017.

NSC handles intermodal cargo on behalf of truckers and other shippers. It also handles the shipments on behalf of intermodal marketing companies and international steamships. In the intermodal space, trucking companies such as J.B. Hunt Transport (JBHT) and Swift Transportation (SWFT) compete with Norfolk Southern.

Investing in ETFs

Investors interested in indirect investments in major transport and logistics stocks can look into the First Trust Industrials/Producer Durables AlphaDEX ETF (FXR), which has holdings in major US airlines (JBLU) and prominent railroads (UNP).

In the next part, we’ll move to CSX, a close competitor of NSC.

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