What Pushed Freight Volumes for Norfolk Southern in Week 44?



Week 44: NSC’s carloads

In week 44, which ended November 4, 2017, Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) railcar volumes rose slightly by 0.2%. However, intermodal shipments rose 7.9%. Excluding intermodal, the company’s railcars totaled ~67,600, remaining almost the same as the levels in the week ended November 5, 2016.

Norfolk Southern registered a 0.6% fall in other-than-coal and coke (UGAZ) carloads in the 44th week of 2017. It hauled ~48,600 carloads that week compared with ~49,000 units in the same week last year. In contrast, its coal and coke carloads rose 2.2%, reaching ~19,000 railcars compared with ~18,600 units in the 44th week of 2016.

Compared with the ~2% fall reported by US railroads in the 44th week of 2017, Norfolk Southern recorded minuscule volume gains. Since the beginning of 2017, the company has achieved superior volume gains, remaining ahead of its archrival CSX (CSX).

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Advancing and declining commodity groups

In the 44th week of 2017, NSC’s commodity groups with higher YoY (year-over-year) volumes included the following:

  • chemicals
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • metals and products
  • motor vehicles and equipment (TM)
  • petroleum products (SLB)

The commodity groups with lower YoY (year-over-year) volumes included the following:

  • food and kindred products
  • grain mill products
  • grain
  • stone, clay, and glass products

NSC’s intermodal volumes

Norfolk Southern (NSC) recorded high single-digit (or 7.8%) growth in intermodal traffic in the 44th week of 2017. The company’s volumes were 85,300 units compared to ~79,000 trailers and containers in the 44th week last year.

Containers, which accounted for ~90% of NSC’s intermodal traffic, had ~6% volume gains in the 44th week. Trailers, with a 10% share in total intermodal volumes, registered a robust rise of 29.2% during the reported week.

Next, we’ll review CSX’s (CSX) freight traffic for week 44 of 2017.


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