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How CSX’s Traffic Growth Stacked Up against Norfolk Southern’s

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CSX’s carloads in week 36

Eastern US railroad CSX (CSX) posted 5.4% YoY (year-over-year) growth in carload traffic in week 36. Compared to 64,900 railcars excluding intermodal units in the same week last year, CSX moved 68,400 railcars in the comparable period this year. CSX’s carload traffic gains were much higher compared to rival Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) 1.2% YoY gains in week 36. The former’s carload gains were almost double the percentage of US railroads’ 2.6% YoY average gains in the week.

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CSX’s commodity groups except coal and coke made up 73.8% of its total carloads in the week. Coal and coke traffic made up 26.2% of total carloads. The traffic of commodity groups other than coal and coke expanded 7.1% YoY in week 36 to ~50,500 railcars from ~47,200 units. Coal and coke traffic rose ~1% YoY to 17,900 railcars from 17,700 units.

Changes in CSX’s carload commodity groups

The following commodity groups pushed up week 36’s total carload volumes:

  • grain
  • grain mill products
  • petroleum and petroleum products
  • primary metal products
  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • stone, clay and glass products
  • motor vehicles and parts

The following commodity groups pulled down volumes in week 36:

  • chemicals
  • non-metallic minerals
  • metallic ores
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CSX’s intermodal volumes in week 36

CSX’s intermodal volume growth exceeded its carload rise by ~3% in week 36. During the week, the railroad posted 8.3% YoY growth in intermodal traffic to ~51,400 containers and trailers from 47,400 units in the comparable period of 2017. CSX‘s intermodal unit gains took third place among major railroads. Rival Norfolk Southern was in the second spot with 10.5% gains. Kansas City Southern (KSU) remained in the top position with 22.4% YoY growth in week 36’s intermodal traffic. BNSF Railway (BRK.B) was the only class I railroad to report lower YoY intermodal volumes during the week.

CSX’s container volumes were up 8.2% YoY to ~49,500 units in week 36 from ~45,800 units in the same period of 2017. Trailer traffic gained 12.3% YoY to ~1,800 units from ~1,600 units. In the first 36 weeks, the railroad’s total railcar traffic expansion of 0.5% was much lower than the 4% overall gains reported by US railroads (XLI) during the same period. We’ll assess Kansas City Southern’s railcar traffic in the next part.

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