Weak Intermodal Volumes Dragged CSX’s Rail Traffic Down

CSX’s rail traffic

CSX’s (CSX) overall rail traffic fell 2.3% YoY (year-over-year) to 121,472 railcars in Week 18 from 124,329 railcars in Week 18 of the previous year. Three of the seven Class I railroad companies recorded volume declines, while four registered growth during the week.

Norfolk Southern (NSC) recorded the highest fall of 4.2%, while Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) registered the highest volume gain of 4.5%.

Weak Intermodal Volumes Dragged CSX’s Rail Traffic Down

CSX’s dismal rail traffic performance was mainly the result of a drastic fall in its intermodal units. The company’s intermodal traffic fell 9.7% YoY, the highest among all seven Class I railroad companies. The company hauled 49,647 containers and trailers compared to 54,963 units in the same week of the previous year. CSX’s container volumes fell 9.7% YoY to 47,766 units from 52,913 units. Its trailer traffic fell 8.2% YoY to 1,881 units from 2,050 units.

Carload traffic improved

CSX’s carload traffic grew 3.5% YoY to 71,825 railcars, excluding intermodal units, from 69,366 railcars in Week 18 of 2018. Union Pacific (UNP) and Norfolk Southern were the only two Class I railroad companies that recorded lower carload traffic of 0.5% and 3.9%, respectively. Among the other five Class I railroads that recorded carload volume growth, Canadian National Railway (CNI) registered the highest gain of 6.5%.

CSX’s carload traffic excluding coal and coke increased 1.2% YoY to 54,253 railcars from 53,624 railcars in the same week of the previous year. The company’s coal and coke traffic soared 11.6% YoY to 17,572 units from 15,742 units.

CSX registered a carload traffic decline across the grain, farm, chemicals, metal, nonmetallic minerals, iron, and coal commodity groups. Commodities including food, forest, stone, metallic ore, motor vehicles, and petroleum and petroleum products registered YoY traffic growth.

Shares of CSX have gained ~26.7% YTD (year-to-date), outperforming the returns of the iShares Transportation Average ETF (IYT), which tracks the performance of transportation companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. The ETF has gained 15.6% YTD.