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Norfolk Southern: Highest Rail Traffic Decline in Week 23

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Highest rail traffic decline

Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) rail traffic fell 9.7% YoY (year-over-year) in Week 23. The company hauled 141,742 railcars during the week—compared to 156,910 railcars in Week 23 of 2018. Five out of seven Class I railroad companies registered volume declines during the week. Norfolk Southern recorded the highest fall, while Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) and Canadian National Railway (CNI) were the only two gainers. Canadian Pacific and Canadian National Railway reported volume growth of 2.2% and 1.2%, respectively.

Norfolk Southern registered traffic declines across its carload and intermodal units. The company’s carload traffic fell 9.7% YoY to 65,406 railcars from 72,432 railcars. Norfolk Southern registered carload traffic declines across most of the commodity groups except for grain, chemicals, metallic ores, forest, and waste and scrap materials. Excluding coal and coke, the company’s carload volumes fell 7.2% YoY to 47,033 units. Norfolk Southern’s coal and coke traffic fell 15.5% YoY to 18,373 units from 21,749 units.

During Week 23, five out of seven Class I railroad companies recorded lower carload traffic. BNSF Railway reported the highest fall of 10.9%. Canadian National Railway and CSX (CSX) were the only railroad companies that recorded carload traffic growth of 3.5% and 0.9%, respectively.

Intermodal volumes

Norfolk Southern’s intermodal volumes fell 9.6% YoY to 76,336 containers and trailers—compared to 84,478 units in Week 23 of 2018. The company’s container volumes fell 6.6% YoY to 70,876 units from 75,862 units. Norfolk Southern’s trailer volumes fell 36.6% YoY to 5,460 units from 8,616 units.

During Week 23, six out of seven Class I railroad companies recorded lower intermodal unit volumes. CSX saw the highest volume decline of 10.1%, while Canadian Pacific was the only gainer. The company reported intermodal volume growth of 7%.

Norfolk Southern stock has gained 30.2% year-to-date. The stock has outpaced the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLI), which has gained 17.1% in 2019. XLI has allocated 17.7% of its holdings to the freight and logistics services industry.

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