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CSX’s Rail Traffic Fell on Weak Intermodal Volumes

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CSX’s rail traffic fell

CSX’s (CSX) overall rail traffic fell 4.3% YoY (year-over-year) to 123,565 railcars in Week 19 from 129,142 railcars in Week 19 of the previous year. Five of the seven Class I railroad companies recorded volume declines, whereas two registered growth during the week. CSX recorded the highest fall, while Canadian National Railway (CNI) registered the highest volume gain of 1.3%.

CSX’s dismal rail traffic performance was mainly the result of a drastic fall in its number of intermodal units. The company’s intermodal traffic fell 7% YoY. The company hauled 52,518 containers and trailers compared to 56,485 units in the same week of the previous year. CSX’s container volumes fell 7.1% YoY to 50,599 units from 54,449 units. Its trailer traffic fell 5.7% YoY to 1,919 units from 2,036 units.

All seven Class I railroad companies recorded intermodal volume declines during Week 19. BNSF Railway registered the highest fall of 7.1%, while CNI reported the lowest drop of 0.3%.

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Carload traffic declined

CSX’s carload traffic also fell 2.2% YoY to 71,047 railcars excluding intermodal units from 72,657 railcars in Week 19 of 2018. CSX’s carload traffic excluding coal and coke inched up 0.6% YoY to 54,275 railcars from 53,925 railcars in the same week of the previous year. However, the company’s coal and coke traffic plunged 10.5% YoY to 16,772 units from 18,732 units.

CSX registered a double-digit carload traffic decline across the farm, primary metals, iron and steel, and coal commodity groups. Commodities including grain and mill, pulp, paper, and waste and nonferrous scrap registered double-digit YoY traffic growth.

Four of the seven Class I railroad companies recorded carload traffic declines during the week, while three registered growth. CSX’s carload traffic decline was the highest, while CNI reported the highest gain of 2.5%. The other two volume gainers were Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and Kansas City Southern (KSU), which were up 1.8% and 0.2%, respectively.

Shares of CSX have returned ~26.2% YTD (year-to-date), outperforming the gains of the iShares Transportation Average ETF (IYT), which invests in the transportation companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The ETF has yielded a YTD return of 14.6%.

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