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Norfolk Southern’s Rail Traffic Uptrend Continues


Jan. 28 2019, Updated 2:30 p.m. ET

Rail traffic volumes

In Week 3, Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) rail traffic volumes rose 10.5% YoY (year-over-year) to 153,801 units from 139,185, driven primarily by robust growth in carloads and intermodal units. NSC’s rail traffic growth was higher than US railroads’ (XTN) overall 6.9% gain, and the company’s volume growth ranked second among Class I railroads. Canadian National Railway’s (CNI) volumes gained the most, rising 12.6%.

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Carloads increased

In the second week, Norfolk Southern’s carload traffic grew for a sixth consecutive week. During the week, the Eastern US railroad company’s carload traffic increased 10% YoY to 66,927 railcars from 60,842, placing third after CSX (CSX) and Canadian National Railway in terms of carload traffic growth.

Commodities excluding coal and coke, which accounted for 70% of Norfolk Southern’s Week 3 carload traffic, grew 5.4% YoY to 46,729 units from 44,327. Its coal and coke volumes rose 22.3% YoY to 20,198 units from 16,515. Norfolk Southern’s volumes grew across all commodity groups except grain mill products and coke.

Intermodal volumes

Norfolk Southern’s intermodal traffic grew 10.9% YoY in Week 3 to 86,874 containers and trailers from 78,343, and its container traffic expanded 10.5% YoY to 78,307 units from 70,835. Its trailer volumes increased 14.1% YoY to 8,567 units from 7,508.

Union Pacific (UNP) was the top intermodal volume gainer in the week, while Kansas City Southern (KSU) was the weakest performer among Class I railroads. UNP’s intermodal volumes rose 18.3% YoY, and KSU’s fell 10.3%. Next, we’ll discuss CSX’s rail traffic.


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