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Intermodal Growth Pushed Norfolk Southern’s Volumes in Week 12

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NSC’s carloads in Week 12

Major eastern US railroad company Norfolk Southern (NSC) saw its carload traffic in positive territory in Week 12. The company’s carload traffic was down 2.7% in the week ended March 24, 2018.

In the week, NSC moved ~70,000 carloads compared to ~71,900 carloads in the week ended March 25, 2017. Its competitor CSX (CSX) also recorded a 3.1% fall in carload volumes. Norfolk Southern’s change in carloads stood in contrast to the 2.5% gains posted by US railroad companies (GWR) on the whole in Week 12.

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NSC’s carloads excluding coal (BTU) and coke fell 4.4%, crossing 48,300 units compared to over 50,500 carloads in last year’s Week 12. Its coal and coke carloads rose 1.4% in the reported week of 2018. The company hauled fewer than 21,700 carloads of coal and coke compared to ~21,400 carloads in the same week last year. Carloads other than coal and coke made up 69% of its total carloads, and its coal and coke carloads made up 31%.

Rising and falling carload commodity groups

Commodity groups that reported rises in shipments were as follows:

  • chemicals
  • metals and products
  • pulp, paper, and allied products
  • waste and scrap materials

Commodity groups that reported carload slumps were as follows:

  • grain
  • motor vehicles and equipment
  • petroleum products
  • grain mill products

NSC’s intermodal traffic in Week 12

Norfolk Southern reported a 7.2% rise in its intermodal traffic in Week 12. Its competitor CSX posted a very slight 0.05% rise in volumes. NSC hauled over 72,800 containers in Week 12 compared to 68,700 containers in the comparable period last year. On a year-over-year basis, its container traffic was up 6%. Its trailer volumes were up 17.6% to 9,000 trailers compared to 7,600 units last year.

For the first 12 weeks of 2018, Norfolk Southern’s railcar volumes, including intermodal, grew 2.8% compared to the 2.6% rise posted by US railroad companies (XLI) overall.

In the next article, we’ll assess CSX’s railcar traffic.

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