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Carloads Pulled Down Norfolk Southern’s Traffic Growth in Week 39

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NSC’s carload traffic in week 39

Norfolk Southern (NSC) is a major railroad in the Eastern United States. In week 39, Norfolk Southern recorded a 1.9% YoY (year-over-year) fall in carload traffic. The railroad carried ~69,700 railcars except for intermodal units in the week compared to ~71,000 in the same week last year.

Compared to Norfolk Southern, its rival CSX (CSX) reported much higher carload traffic gains in week 39. The latter’s 5.9% YoY carload volume growth was the second highest during the week. Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) reported the highest carload traffic gains of 6% among all class I railroads. BNSF Railway (BRK.B) remained in third place with 3.9% gains. In week 39, NSC’s commodity groups except coal and coke made up 72.8% of total carload traffic. Coal and coke traffic made up 27.2% of total carloads. Traffic of commodity groups except coal and coke fell slightly by 1.23% YoY to 50,700 units from 51,400 units. Coal and coke traffic contracted 3.5% YoY to ~18,500 in the week from ~19,600 units.

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Changes in NSC’s commodity groups

The following carload commodity groups posted higher volumes in week 39:

  • chemicals
  • grain mill products
  • non-metallic minerals
  • petroleum products
  • waste and scrap material

The following commodity groups posted lower volumes in week 39:

  • crushed stone, sand, and gravel
  • grain
  • iron and steel scrap
  • motor vehicles and equipment
  • stone, clay and glass products

NSC’s intermodal traffic in week 39

Norfolk Southern’s intermodal traffic went up in week 39 in contrast with the fall in carload traffic. NSC’s intermodal traffic jumped 6.1% in the week to 90,500 containers and trailers compared to ~85,400 units in the comparable week last year. The railroad’s container traffic grew 5.6% YoY to ~82,100 units from 77,800 units. Trailer traffic rose 11% YoY to 8,500 units compared to ~7,600 units.

Norfolk Southern registered 4.5% YoY growth in total rail traffic volume in the first 39 weeks of 2019, which was marginally higher than US railroad (FXR) companies’ average 4% growth.

We’ll consider CSX’s rail traffic volume in the next article.

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