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Norfolk Southern’s Rail Traffic Performance in Week 24

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Rail traffic fell

Norfolk Southern’s (NSC) rail traffic fell 5.3% YoY (year-over-year) in Week 24. The company hauled 149,404 railcars during the week—compared to 157,689 wagons in Week 24 of 2018.

Among the seven Class I railroad companies, six registered volume declines during the week. Union Pacific (UNP) reported the highest fall of 6%, while Canadian Pacific Railway (CP) was the only gainer. Canadian Pacific Railway reported volume growth of 0.8%.

Norfolk Southern’s carload traffic fell 3.7% YoY to 68,193 railcars from 70,785 railcars. The carload volumes, excluding coal and coke, fell 3.5% YoY to 48,240 units. The company’s coal and coke traffic fell 4.1% YoY to 19,953 units from 20,807 units. Norfolk Southern registered carload traffic declines across most of the commodity groups, except for crushed stone, sand, grain, iron and steel, and metallic ores.

During Week 24, four out of seven Class I railroad companies recorded carload traffic declines. Union Pacific reported the highest fall of 5.1%. Kansas City Southern (KSU) and CSX (CSX) were the only railroad companies that recorded carload traffic growth of 2.4% and 3.3%, respectively. Canadian National Railway (CNI) recorded flat carload volumes.

Intermodal volumes

Norfolk Southern’s intermodal volumes fell 6.6% YoY to 81,211 containers and trailers—compared to 86,904 units in Week 24 of 2018. The company’s container volumes fell 3.8% YoY to 75,199 units from 78,172 units, while its trailer volumes fell 31.1% YoY to 6,012 units from 8,732 units.

During Week 24, six out of seven Class I railroad companies recorded lower intermodal unit volumes. CSX saw the highest volume decline of 11.5%, while Canadian Pacific Railway was the only gainer. The company reported intermodal volume growth of 5.8%.

Norfolk Southern stock has gained 31.9% year-to-date. The stock has outperformed the Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF’s (XLI) returns. XLI, which has allocated 17.7% of its holdings to the freight and logistics services industry, has returned 19.7% in 2019.

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