Pandemic Has Hindered CSX Operations

The COVID-19 pandemic has hindered CSX operations by affecting as many as 40 percent of its employees at some terminals.

Those workers were unable to report for their shifts because they were in quarantine.

CSX CEO James Foote commented during a quarterly earnings calls that the pandemic began hitting the workforce hard following the Thanksgiving holiday period and that continued through December.

Foote indicated this caused a deterioration in the quality of service CSX was able to provide.

“Our employees have been impacted by the virus to the same degree as everyone else, if not more in the transportation sector,” Foote said.

“Because they’re essential workers and they’re out on the front lines in and out every single day making sure the goods get across the country.”

Figures presented by CSX officials showed fourth-quarter intermodal trip-plan compliance was 84 percent. A year ago it had been 95 percent.

Carload trip-plan compliance was down 75 percent compared with 83 a year ago.

On-time train departures fell 10 percent to 83 percent while on-time train arrivals sank 19 percent to 69 percent.

“If you have some of those COVID pockets, where 40 percent of your terminal is off, and it takes you an extra six or eight or 10 hours to get a car through a terminal, that’s a failure,” said Jamie Boychuk, CSX executive vice president of operations.

During December, CSX gave priority to UPS parcel traffic, which meant some less time sensitive international traffic was delayed.

Boychuk said with the holidays over trip compliance for intermodal and carload traffic is improving.  

“We expect these trip plan figures will return to and then exceed our results from the beginning of 2020,” Foote said. 

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