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CSX posts lower Q4 earnings on lower volume

Rail News Home CSX Transportation 1/17/2020 Rail News: CSX Transportation
image CSX net earnings and revenue declined in fourth-quarter 2019 versus the previous year's quarter due to lower volumes and a negative mix from coal market headwinds. The Class I also set a company fourth-quarter record with its operating ratio (OR).Net earnings in the quarter tumbled 9 percent to $771 million, or 99 cents per share, from $843 million, or $1.01 per share, in the previous year. Revenue fell 8 percent to $2.9 billion from $3.1 billion.Fourth-quarter expenses were down 9 percent year over year to $1.73 billion, driven by continued efficiency gains and volume-related savings. Operating income declined 8 percent to $1.15 billion compared to the same period last year.CSX's record operating ratio of 60 percent in the quarter compared with 60.3 percent a year ago.For full-year 2019, the Class I generated net earnings of $3.33 billion, or $4.17 per share, versus 3.31 billion, or $3.84 per share, in 2018, an increase of 1 percent and 9 percent, respectively. The company's full-year 2019 operating ratio of 58.4 percent represents a new U.S. Class I record, improving from last year's record result of 60.3 percent."The railroad has never run better and we are delivering great service to our customers," said President and Chief Executive Officer James Foote in a press release. "What is really amazing is how our employees stepped up to produce efficiencies during tough economic conditions."By business group, CSX reported the following fourth-quarter 2019 results:
• Coal volume: Domestic coal declined mostly because of fewer shipments of utility coal due to greater competition from natural gas. Export coal fell due to reduced international shipments of both thermal and metallurgical coal as global benchmark prices fell.
• Intermodal volume: Domestic and international intermodal fell primarily because of rationalization of low-density lanes.
• Merchandise volume: Chemicals were down due to reduced natural gas liquids, fly ash and sand shipments; ag and food products increased due to gains in ethanol, sweeteners and oils; automotive declined due to a reduction in North American production; minerals increased due to higher shipments for highway projects; forest products declined due to fewer pulpboard shipments; fertilizer gains on short-haul phosphate shipments were offset by declines in long-haul fertilizer shipments; and metals and equipment were down due to reduced steel, construction and scrap shipments.

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CSX CEO Foote: Next year affords an opportunity to leverage improved service to drive above-market growth

In November, Progressive Railroading asked each Class I chief executive officer to address questions pertaining to their 2020 outlook. CSX President and CEO James Foote in early December provided the following responses in an email.

What's your take on the potential for volume growth in 2020 after a difficult year for rail traffic in 2019? Are there certain commodities/business groups you feel pretty good about heading into next year? Which ones are you concerned about, and why? What, predominantly, do you believe will drive business growth in 2020?

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CSX, Maryland find extra funding for Howard Street Tunnel project

Rail News Home CSX Transportation 12/9/2019 Rail News: CSX Transportation
image CSX and the state of Maryland have agreed to $100 million in additional funding needed to advance the expansion of the long-planned Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore.In July, Maryland won a $125 million federal grant for the project, which will be conducted in partnership with CSX. The project calls for eliminating height restrictions in the 121-year-old tunnel to allow double-stack trains to move to and from the Port of Baltimore. The work will create double-stack clearance in the tunnel and under 22 bridges between Baltimore and Philadelphia.However, the grant that Maryland obtained in July was $103 million less than the state had requested for the $466 million project. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan pledged to work with the railroad, which owns the tunnel, and other unnamed stakeholders to come up with the remaining amount. Now, the state and railroad have "identified a variety of state, private and federal formula sources to close the funding gap,” Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn wrote in a Nov. 25 letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the Baltimore Sun reported last week.Previously, Maryland had proposed providing $147 million for the work, with CSX committing $91 million. Rahn's letter did not break down how much each entity or other stakeholders will contribute, according to the newspaper.“I am pleased to report that our efforts have paid off,” Rahn wrote. “At this point, the $466 million project is fully funded.”A CSX spokeswoman declined to say how much the Class I will pay toward the project until the state makes a public announcement, the newspaper reported.

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CSX picks Kentucky rail bypass as latest ‘Select Site’

Rail News Home CSX Transportation 12/6/2019 Rail News: CSX Transportation
image CSX joined local officials this week in announcing that the Henderson Bypass Rail Site in Henderson, Kentucky, has been designated a CSX Select Site.Photo – CSX Facebook

CSX has designated the Henderson bypass rail site in Henderson, Kentucky, as a CSX Select Site.

Select Sites are development-ready properties along the CSX network where standard land use considerations and comprehensive due diligence issues have been addressed. The properties are able to meet the needs of a variety of manufacturers, reducing the time required to build facilities and ultimately bring products to market, CSX officials said in a press release.

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CSX joins TradeLens shipping information platform

Rail News Home CSX Transportation 11/7/2019 Rail News: CSX Transportation
image CSX has become the first North American railroad to join TradeLens, a global shipping information platform that provides customers with improved supply-chain transparency and shipment-status visibility.Developed by IBM and Maersk, TradeLens is an open, neutral platform that currently includes data on half of the world's ocean container cargo.The platform uses secure blockchain technology to support collaboration across the supply chain and provide customers with timely updates on their shipments.By leading North American railroads onto the platform, CSX is expanding its commitment to greater transparency that enables shippers to manage their supply chains more efficiently, CSX officials said in a press release.“Railroads are vital links in the global supply chain, and CSX wants to support all of the ways our customers are seeking greater efficiency and flexibility," said Mark Wallace, CSX's executive vice president of sales and marketing.As CSX customers move onto TradeLens, the Class I "will be helping provide them with better end-to-end shipment tracking capability," Wallace said.To learn more about the potential use of blockchain technology in the rail realm, read this feature in Progressive Railroading's July issue.

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