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Why CSX’s Railcar Traffic Declined in Week 10

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Mar. 19 2018, Published 7:32 p.m. ET

CSX’s carloads in Week 10

Eastern US major railroad CSX (CSX) continues to see a declining trend in its carloads in 2018. The company posted a 1.4% loss of carloads in the week ended March 10, 2018, or Week 10. From ~70,200 carloads in the week ended March 11, 2017, CSX hauled ~69,200 carloads in Week 10 of 2018. After many weeks, the company reported a lower carload loss compared with rival Norfolk Southern (NSC). However, CSX’s carload contraction was in contrast with the 1.6% growth registered by US railroads overall in Week 10 of 2018.

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For CSX, other than coal and coke carloads accounted for 75.8% of total carloads in Week 10 compared with 77.5% last year. Coal and coke carloads’ share grew from 22.5% in 2017 to 24.2% in 2018. The 3.6% contraction in the railroad’s carloads excluding coal and coke was offset by a 6.5% rise in coal and coke carloads. CSX moved ~52,500 carloads other than coal and coke in 2018 from ~54,500 last year. Coal and coke carloads were ~16,800 units compared with ~15,800 units in 2017.

Expanding and contracting carload commodity groups

Below are the commodity groups that reported higher carloads in Week 10:

  • food products
  • primary metal products
  • pulp and paper products
  • stone, clay, and glass products

Below are the commodity groups that dragged down overall shipments:

  • grain
  • grain mill products
  • chemicals
  • petroleum and petroleum products
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel

CSX’s intermodal traffic in Week 10

CSX witnessed a 5.5% gain in intermodal traffic in Week 10 of 2018. It moved ~55,400 containers and trailers that week from ~52,500 units in Week 10 of 2017. Container volumes rose 4.9% to ~53,000 units from ~50,600 units last year. Trailer traffic reported a double-digit rise of 21.8% to 2,300 units from 1,900 units last year.

On an overall basis, CSX reported an overall 1.6% shipment gain in railcar traffic. That was far lower than 6.2% growth reported by US railroads.

In the next part of this series, we’ll check the freight trends of Kansas City Southern (KSU).

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