CSX Net Earnings Up 21% in 1st Quarter

CSX said on Wednesday its net earnings in the first quarter rose 21 percent in diluted earnings per share.

Those net earnings were $859 million, or $0.39 per share, compared to $706 million, or $0.31 per share, in the first quarter of 2021.

Operating income was up 16 percent to $1.28 billion compared to $1.10 billion in the same quarter of 2021.

Revenue reached $3.41 billion for the quarter, increasing 21 percent year-over-year, as an overall revenue-per-unit increase of 24 percent more than offset a 2 percent decline in volume.

CSX said that first quarter operating income included $17 million of expenses related to increases in environmental reserves and a $20 million gain from property sales with the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The operating ratio increased from 60.9 percent in the prior-year period by 150 basis points to 62.4 percent.

The company attributed revenue gains in eight of its 10 traffic categories to “strong pricing and higher fuel surcharge.”

Chemicals were up 16 percent; Agricultural & Food Products increased 11 percent; Forest Products increased 4 percent as higher revenue per unit more than offset lower shipments, primarily of building products; Automotive decreased 4 percent; Metals and quipment increased 6 percent; Minerals increased 15 percent; Fertilizers decreased 2 percent; Intermodal increased 13 percent; Coal increased 39 percent; and other revenue increased 41 percent.

During the first quarter the CSX train and engine workforce averaged 6,629 workers compared to 6,432 in the first quarter of 2021. CSX had an average of 561 conductors in training.

Intermodal trip plan compliance was 87 percent, a two-point improvement, but carload trip compliance was just 64 percent, a three-point decline.

“We are pleased with our results this quarter, though we’re not yet satisfied with our service performance,” Foote said during the earnings call with investors.

He said operations showed improvements in March and those trends have continued into April.

However, Jamie Boychuk, CSX executive vice president of operations, said it was too early to say the railroad has reached the bottom of the crew shortage problem.

Nonetheless, he said CSX expects its train and engine ranks to reach full strength by summer.

Crew shortages meant that CSX could not handle all of the traffic it sought during the quarter.

Average train speed was down 15 percent compared to the first quarter of 2021, while terminal dwell time rose 4 percent.

On-time train originations dropped to 65 percent from 79 percent a year ago, while on-time train arrival declined 12 points to 57 percent.

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