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CSX versus Norfolk Southern: Rail Traffic in Week 17

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CSX’s carload traffic in Week 17

In the 17th week of 2018, rail carrier CSX (CSX) reported a 4.8% carload traffic rise YoY (year-over-year). Throughout much of 2018, the Florida-based rail giant has reported YoY railcar traffic decline. In recent weeks, CSX’s rail traffic has gotten back on track. 

In the week ended April 28, the railroad’s carload traffic increased to more than 72,000 units from over 68,700. CSX’s carload traffic gain exceeded that of rival Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) 4.2% and US railroads’ 3.7%.

In Week 17, CSX’s carloads excluding coal (ARLP) and coke rose 1.7% YoY to ~54,200 units from ~53,200 in 2017. The company’s coal-and-coke carloads grew 15.4% YoY to ~17,900 units from ~15,500 in 2017.

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Changes in CSX’s carload commodity groups

The following commodity groups reported increasing volumes in Week 17:

  • grain
  • food products
  • primary metal products
  • pulp and paper products
  • motor vehicles and parts

The following commodity groups recorded decreasing volumes in Week 17:

  • grain mill products
  • chemicals
  • non-metallic minerals
  • stone, clay, and glass products
  • waste and non-ferrous scrap

Intermodal volumes in Week 17

In Week 17 of 2018, CSX’s intermodal traffic expanded 3.8% YoY to ~56,300 containers and trailers from ~54,300 in 2017. The railroad’s container traffic grew 3.7% YoY to more than 54,300 units from ~52,400. Trailer volumes increased 7.2% YoY to ~2,000 trailers from ~1,880 in 2017.

In the first 17 weeks of 2018, CSX’s rail traffic declined 2.2% YoY, whereas US rail carriers (IYJ) gained 3.2% YoY. This suggests that CSX still must perform the groundwork to increase its freight volumes in 2018. 

Next, we’ll assess Kansas City Southern’s (KSU) volumes in Week 17.

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