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Why CSX’s Freight Volumes Declined in Week 44

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CSX’s freight volumes

Florida-based CSX Corporation (CSX) registered a 2.3% fall in freight volumes in the 44th week, which ended on November 4, 2017. The company moved ~70,400 railcars compared with ~72,000 in the week ended November 5, 2016.

In the 44th week of 2017, the share of CSX’s other-than-coal and coke carloads fell to 75.3% compared with 77% a year ago. The company hauled ~53,000 carloads in that category compared with ~55,500 railcars in the 44th week last year. However, the coal (UNG) and coke carloads saw 4.8% volume gains in the reported week. The company moved 17,400 coal and coke carloads in 2017 compared with 16,600 units in the same week last year.

Changes in commodity groups

These commodity groups raised CSX’s volumes in the 44th week of 2017:

  • primary metal products (RIO)
  • lumber and wood products
  • pulp and paper products
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel

The commodity groups where volumes contracted included the following:

  • grain
  • lumber and wood products
  • petroleum and petroleum products (SLB)
  • motor vehicles and parts (TSLA)
  • non-metallic minerals

CSX’s intermodal volumes in the 44th week

Looking at the railcar volumes slump, CSX’s intermodal traffic reported a marginal shipment loss of 0.1% in the 44th week of 2017. The company hauled ~57,300 trailers and containers compared with 57,400 units in the corresponding week last year.

Containers normally account for ~95% of CSX’s intermodal volume mix. In the 44th week of 2017, container traffic contracted slightly by 0.2% to 55,300 units compared to 55,500 units in the same week of 2016. However, unlike containers, trailers reported volume gains. CSX’s trailer traffic rose 2.8% to 2,000 units compared with ~1,950 units in the 44th week last year.

In the next part, we’ll examine Kansas City Southern’s (KSU) rail freight operations in the 44th week of 2017.

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