uploads///NSC Carloads

These Commodities Pushed Norfolk Southern’s Volumes in Week 43


Nov. 7 2017, Published 1:30 p.m. ET

Week 43: NSC’s railcar traffic

Norfolk Southern (NSC) dominates the Eastern US rail freight space along with Hunter Harrison’s CSX (CSX). Norfolk Southern gained 2.8% in railcar volumes in the 43rd week (ended October 28) of 2017, hauling more than 70,000 carloads, compared with ~68,000 units in the week ended October 29, 2016.

NSC’s carloads excluding coal (BTU) and coke rose 3.1% to ~49,000 units, compared with ~48,000 units in the same week last year. Coal and coke carloads rose 2% to ~21,000 railcars from ~20,000 units in last year’s 43rd week. For Norfolk Southern, coal and coke carloads accounted for ~30% of total carloads.

In the week ended October 28, 2017, the growth in NSC’s railcar volume diverged from the change reported by US railroads.

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Advancing and declining commodity groups

In the 43rd week of 2017, commodity groups with volume gains included:

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

These commodity groups saw volume losses during the same week:

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

NSC’s intermodal traffic in week 43

Norfolk Southern’s intermodal traffic posted 5.4% gains in the week ended October 28, 2017. That week, the company moved ~85,000 trailers and containers—up by ~4,300 units from ~80,000 units in the week ended October 29, 2016.

In NSC’s intermodal volume mix, containers accounted for 90.3% of traffic, while trailers shared the remaining 9.7%. In the 43rd week of 2017, container traffic grew ~3% to over 76,000 units, up from 74,000 units last year. Trailer volumes jumped robustly by 35% to over 8,200 units in the reported week, compared with ~6,100 units during the 43rd week of 2016.

In the next part, we’ll examine CSX’s (CSX) freight volumes.


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