Strong carload traffic growth
CSX’s (CSX) total rail traffic volumes rose 3.2% YoY (year-over-year) to 122,403 units in Week 6. The sixth week marked a significant improvement in rail volumes for the company after it reported falls for two consecutive weeks.
Along with Norfolk Southern (NSC), CSX was the top volume gainer among all Class I railroad companies in Week 6.
CSX’s Week 6 rail traffic was mainly boosted by its carload traffic, which grew 6.4% YoY to 69,911 railcars (excluding intermodal units) from 65,718 railcars. The company’s carload traffic growth was the second highest among Class I railroad companies (XLI). Kansas City Southern (KSU) reported the highest gain of 11.4% in carload traffic, while Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) was the worst performer with a 12.4% decline.
CSX’s carload traffic excluding coal and coke, which accounted for 77% of its total carload traffic in Week 6, grew 8.8% YoY to 53,728 railcars from 49,373 railcars. Its coal and coke traffic declined 1% YoY to 16,183 units from 16,345 units in Week 6 of 2018.
The company reported a volume increase across the majority of its commodity groups. CSX registered double-digit volume gains in petroleum, forest, lumber, crushed stone, and metallic ore products. Food, chemicals, coke, and iron and steel scrap registered YoY volume declines.
Weakness persists in intermodal volumes
Weakness in the company’s intermodal traffic continued for the third straight week. In Week 6, CSX’s intermodal volumes inched down 0.8% to 52,492 units from 52,940 units. Its container volumes declined 0.9% YoY to 50,384 units from 50,866 units, while its trailer traffic grew 1.6% YoY to 2,108 units from 2,074 units.
In the first six weeks of 2019, CSX reported cumulative volumes of 398,095 carloads, up 6.3% from the same period last year. However, its intermodal units fell 4.2% YoY to 294,379 containers and trailers. Its combined rail traffic in the first six weeks of 2019 inched up 1.5% YoY to 692,474 carloads and intermodal units compared to the previous year.
In the next article, we’ll take a look at Union Pacific’s rail traffic performance.