Which Commodities Pulled Down CSX’s Freight Volumes in Week 48?



CSX’s carload volumes in week 48

Among all the Class I railroads, CSX (CSX) has consistently reported lower YoY (year-over-year) freight volumes in 2017. In the week ended December 2, 2017, the company registered a 5.5% carload traffic loss. CSX’s carload volumes declined to ~72,600 units in that week from ~76,800 carloads in the week ended December 3, 2016.

In the 48th week of 2017, CSX’s carloads showed a reverse trend compared with the 2.1% gains derived by US railroads. Year-over-year, CSX’s carload change trended opposite to its primary competitor, Norfolk Southern (NSC), in 2017.

Along with the operational shift to the Precision Schedule railroading model, the major hurricanes negatively impacted the Jacksonville-based CSX’s freight volumes this year.

CSX’s carload commodity groups other than coal and coke declined 6.0% to ~53,700 units from around ~57,200 units last year. Coal and coke carloads contracted 4.0% to ~19,000 carloads from over 19,600 units in week 48 of 2016.

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Progressing and regressing commodity groups

The following commodity groups reported higher volumes in the 48th week of 2017:

  • grain
  • lumber and wood products
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • stone, clay, and glass products

CSX witnessed lower volumes in the below commodity groups:

  • grain mill products
  • food products
  • chemicals (DOW)
  • petroleum and petroleum products (UGAZ)
  • non-metallic minerals

CSX’s intermodal volumes in week 48

CSX registered a 0.6% gain in intermodal volumes in week 48 of 2017. The railroad’s containers and trailers totaled ~54,400 units, which was nearly equal to last year’s volumes. Container traffic fell 0.03%, totaling 51,200 containers in the reported week.

However, trailer traffic expanded 11.9% to more than 3,100 units from more than 2,800 units in week 48 of 2016. While CSX lost 3.0% in freight volumes, overall, its rival Norfolk Southern gained 5.5% in the reported week of 2017.

In the next article, we’ll look at Kansas City Southern’s (KSU) freight volumes.


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