Rail Traffic Continues Strong

Hurricanes in the Southeast continued to batter performance at CSX, which saw its fifth consecutive week of traffic declines in the week ending October 9th. However, other Class 1 railroads were experiencing growth in intermodal traffic.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Norfolk Southern continue to report volume growth in intermodal. The BN saw intermodal increase 9.5% in the week of October 9th. NS had an 11.9% increase for the same period. Traditionally a low-margin business for the railroads, NS and BN appear to be improving their profitability on intermodal traffic, according to equity research firm Morgan Stanley.

Intermodal is now 32.7% of BN’s traffic and 23.7% of NS volumes. CSX carries 29.9% intermodal, Union Pacific 21.7%, and Kansas City Southern 19.2%.

Motor vehicle volumes declined 2.8% in week 40 and 2.8% year to date.

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