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What Happened to Norfolk Southern’s Intermodal Traffic in Week 26?

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Norfolk Southern’s intermodal traffic in the 26th week

In the 26th week of 2017, Norfolk Southern (NSC) saw its overall intermodal volumes expressed containers and trailers grow 8.9%. The company moved 79,500 intermodal units for the week, compared with 73,000 units in the same week of last year.

While trailers represent ~9% of overall intermodal traffic, it reported a decent 20% rise in its YoY (year-over-year) units in the week ended July 1, 2017. NSC moved 7,000 trailers that week, compared with 6,000 trailers in the 26th week of last year. Containers rose 5,300 units or ~8%, up from ~67,000 units in the same week of 2016.

Norfolk Southern saw its overall intermodal volumes grow at a much higher rate than the 4% rise reported by US railroads in the 26th week of 2017. CSX, a close competitor of NSC, registered a lower growth rate in the intermodal space.

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NSC’s intermodal volumes in first six months

For the first six months of 2017, Norfolk Southern’s intermodal volumes have risen 5%, compared with the 2.7% rise reported by US railroads in the same time frame of 2016. The company’s trailer volumes reported a sharp 15% rise in volumes in the first 26 weeks of 2017.

On behalf of international steamship lines, intermodal marketing companies, truckers, and other shippers, Norfolk Southern handles intermodal shipments. The company’s intermodal business compete with major trucking companies like J.B.Hunt Transport (JBHT) and Swift Transportation (SWFT).

Investing in ETFs

If you are interested in indirect exposure to transportation sector stocks, you can invest in the First Trust Industrials/Producer Durables AlphaDEX ETF (FXR), which has holdings in major US airlines (JBLU) and prominent railroads (UNP).

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