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CSX: Behind the Freight Volume Decline in Week 37

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Updated

CSX’s railcar traffic

Florida-based CSX (CSX) operates ~21,000 route miles in the Eastern United States. In addition, the company has operations in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. CSX posted a double-digit 11.0% fall in railcar volumes in the week ended September 16, 2017. That week, CSX moved ~64,000 railcars compared with ~72,000 in the week ended September 17, 2016.

In the 37th week of 2017, CSX’s other-than-coal and coke railcars fell 18.0% on a year-over-year basis. The company hauled ~46,000 railcars in the same category compared with ~56,500 units in the same week of 2016. In Week 37, the company’s coal and coke carloads were in the green zone. These railcars gained 14.2% to ~17,800 railcars from ~15,600 railcars a year before.

Recently, CSX canceled its presentation at a Morgan Stanley (MS) conference due to Hurricane Irma. The storm impacted its Miami network in Florida.

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Change in commodity groups

Notably, there wasn’t a single commodity group, except coal (UGAZ) and coke, where year-over-year volumes rose in the 37th week of 2017.

The commodity groups that posted higher volume losses that week were the following:

  • grain
  • chemicals
  • non-metallic minerals
  • motor vehicles and parts (TSLA)
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel

Intermodal volumes in 37th week

It seems that CSX’s intermodal volumes also suffered from Hurricane Irma in the 37th week of 2017. The company’s overall intermodal traffic fell 8.2% to ~50,000 trailers and containers from ~54,500 units in the week ended September 17, 2016.

In CSX’s intermodal traffic mix, containers account for more than 95.0%, while trailers have less than a 5.0% share. In the 37th week, trailer traffic declined more sharply than container volumes. The company’s containers declined 8.0% to ~48,000 units. Trailer traffic contracted 15.0% to ~1,800 units.

In the next part, we’ll focus on Union Pacific’s (UNP) freight volumes.

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