Posts Tagged ‘CSX financial outlook’

CSX Optimistic About Traffic Growth

April 21, 2021

In taking a closer look at the financial performance of CSX in the first quarter of 2021, it becomes apparent that profits and revenue fell because declines in merchandise and coal traffic overwhelmed intermodal growth.

Nonetheless, during a conference call on Tuesday, company executives expressed optimism that traffic will grow overall this year due to a recovering economy shaking off the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We entered the year projecting volume growth in excess of GDP and still expect to achieve this target,” CEO James Foote said.

“We will continue to attract demand throughout the year, and based on the combination of the strengthening economic outlook and our focus on converting additional volumes off the highway, we now expect to achieve double-digit full year revenue growth.”

Quarterly operating income fell 7 percent to $1.1 billion while revenue declined 1 percent to $2.81 billion. Earnings per share slid 7 percent to 93 cents.

The operating ratio crept up by 2.2 points to 60.9 percent as expenses rose 2 percent.

CSX executives attributed the latter to the effects of employee COVID-19 infections, harsh winter weather, and a fuel surcharge lag.

Overall volume was up 1 percent for the quarter with intermodal traffic growing 10 percent on the strength of an increase in imports at East Coast ports.

Yet merchandise traffic fell 6 percent, largely driven by a 16 percent decline in automotive traffic and an 8 percent decline in chemicals traffic.

A global shortage of computer chips has hamstrung auto production in North American. The chips are placed in new vehicles.

Declines in chemical traffic were prompted by falling crude oil and frac sand shipments.

Coal traffic was down 5 percent, which CSX attributed to fewer exports.

Foote said going forward CSX is focused on improving its train velocity performance, noting that the pandemic and winter weather adversely affected crew availability.

Train velocity was down 11 percent while terminal dwell time was up 30 percent.

On-time performance, based on trip-plan compliance, fell for both intermodal and carload traffic.

Figures released by the company showed 85 percent of intermodal shipments arrived on time, down from 96 percent a year ago.

Merchandise carloads fulfilled their trip plans 67 percent of the time, down from 81 percent a year ago.

CSX operated a record 101 trains per day with distributed power and continued its trend of operating more freight on fewer but longer trains.

During the first quarter train length was up 13 percent and employment down 7 percent due to reduced need for train crews.

CSX Net Earnings Down in 4th Quarter

January 23, 2021

CSX reported this week that it had fourth quarter 2020 net earnings of $760 million or 99 cents per share, compared with $771 million or 99 cents per share in the same quarter in 2019.

For the last quarter of 2020, net income included a $48 million charge or 5 cents per share after taxes that was related to debt retirement.

Revenue during the quarter decreased 2 percent compared with the previous year to $2.83 billion.

In a news release CSX said intermodal growth was more than offset by lower fuel surcharge revenue and declines in coal traffic.

Expenses fell 7 percent in a year-over-year comparison to $1.61 billion, driven by fuel expenses and efficiency gains.

Operating income rose 5 percent to $1.22 billion from $1.15 billion compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.

CSX reported a fourth quarter operating ratio of 57 percent, which official said was a fourth quarter record.

In the fourth quarter of 2019 the operating ratio, which measures expenses as a percentage of revenue, was 60 percent.

CSX management expects traffic volume in 2021 to outpace gross domestic product growth, with merchandise volume growth exceeding industrial production.

Management expects intermodal volume to grown faster than merchandise and coal traffic to show some improvement over its 2020 levels.

The carrier is expected capital expenditures of $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion this year.

CSX Net Earnings Fell 14% in 3rd Quarter

October 23, 2020

CSX this week said that during the third quarter its net earnings declined 14 percent to $736 million, or 96 cents per share, compared with $856 million, or $1.08 per share, in the third quarter of 2019.

Revenue fell 11 percent to $2.65 billion. CSX officials said intermodal traffic growth was offset by declines in coal and merchandise volumes, as well as lower fuel surcharge revenue. Operating income fell 11 percent to $1.14 billion.

The operating ratio, which measures the percentage of revenue devoted to expenses, was 56.9 percent. A year ago the OR for the same quarter was 56.8 percent.

Expenses fell 11 percent to $1.51 billion, which CSX executives attributed to efficiency gains and volume-related reductions.

In a conference call with stock analysts, CSX CEO James Foote said that during the second quarter of this year the carrier experienced its largest and most rapid sequential volume declines in history.

But during the third quarter Foote said CSX was able to “efficiently absorb the record rebound in volumes, while maintaining high level of service,” particularly in intermodal markets.

“The last six months have truly been surreal,” he said. “Think about that: Volume declines and increases twice as steep as the largest swings we experienced in the Great Recession [of 2008] in the span of just a few months.”

Foote said fourth quarter traffic is up on a year-over-year basis. CSX still expects capital expenditures to be at the low end of a $1.6 billion to $1.7 billion range.

In tandem with announcing its quarterly earnings, CSX also announced that its board of directors had approved a new share repurchase program.

The company has been sitting on $2.9 billion in cash and the board authorized an additional $5 billion share buyback program, making the total share repurchase program worth $6 billion.

CSX executives acknowledged that on-time performance deteriorated in the third quarter when compared to the second quarter of this year and the third quarter of 2019.

But Foote said just a few years ago large volume swings would have gridlocked America’s railroads. 

“If you’d had this kind of traffic surge across the rail network in North America four or five years ago, we would be now talking about gridlock across all the major cities in the country. And we wouldn’t be doing anything,” Foote said.

“And now with the common mindset of how you run a railroad, we’re able to respond, we’re able to pivot, we’re nimble, we can add capacity, we can shrink capacity, we can right-size our business and we can do that much more effectively and much more logically and thoughtfully.” 

Overall, CSX traffic volume was down 3 percent for the quarter, with intermodal growth of 7 percent undercut by a 5 percent decline in merchandise traffic and a 27 percent drop in coal.

Volume has increased 3 percent when measured from March 1, before the onset of the pandemic, to the end of the third quarter.

CSX has longer and fewer trains, using 6 percent fewer crews and an active locomotive fleet that’s 8 percent smaller. Train starts have fallen by 11 percent.

During the third quarter, CSX set a record for the number of trains using distributed motive power, averaging 100 trains per day.

CSX Lost 20% of its Traffic in Second Quarter

July 23, 2020

CSX posted a decline of 20 percent in traffic volume during the second quarter of 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold accompanied by an economic recession.

It was the largest quarterly decline in company history and twice as severe as what it experienced during the Great Recession of 2008.

Operating income fell 37 percent to $828 million while revenue tumbled 26 percent to $2.25 billion. Earnings per share fell 40 percent to 65 cents.

Despite cutting costs by 19 percent, CSX saw its operating ratio rise 5.9 points, to 63.3 percent .

Operating ratio is the percentage of revenue devoted to expenses.

All traffic categories fell with coal volume plunging 44 percent, merchandise traffic off 22 percent and intermodal sinking 11 percent.

There was a bit of good news, though. Traffic has risen about 25 percent since the low point of the pandemic in May.

“Wow. Where do I start in talking about this quarter?” said CSX CEO James Foote during an earnings call.

“This was the most disruptive quarter I have experienced in my career, with both the fastest decline in volumes followed by one of the most rapid increases in volumes in the company’s history,” he said.

Foote expressed pleasure, through, at seeing traffic rebound from its May nadir, which he attributed to a strengthening economy marked by the reopening of North American auto assembly plants and their accompanying finished vehicle traffic.

Although Foote said the trends are encouraging, he said it’s still too early to predict the direction of the economic recovery due to lingering uncertainty over the durability of the economic rebound and the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic’s spread.

CSX said carload trip plan performance was 80.5 percent, a decline from the first quarter of 6.1 points above the second quarter a year ago.

Intermodal trip plan performance was 94 percent, down 2.2 points from the first quarter but up from 89.9 percent a year ago.

Most of the falloff in trip plan compliance came in in June as volume began rebuilding and there were delays in recalling furloughed employees.

CSX dropped road train starts in line with the steep volume declines that began in March. But in April the railroad began moving its tonnage on fewer but longer trains, which cut train starts more deeply than the volume decline.

Train starts came within 7 percent of pre-pandemic levels but road train starts remained 17 percent below March levels.

Jamie Boychuk, executive vice president of operations, indicated that fewer train starts are likely to be permanent.

“We are mixing the auto network with our manifest and in some areas with our intermodal network,” he said. “And reducing those train starts … is going to be a good lasting effect as we move forward.”

The CSX workforce, although regaining numbers was 12 percent lower in the second quarter than it was in the same period in 2019.

The railroad has recalled hundreds of train and engine employees from furlough.

Mark Wallace, executive vice president of sales and marketing, said domestic intermodal volume began snapping back in June as retailers restocked store shelves and e-commerce sales were strong.

With some canceled sailing from Asia and elsewhere being reinstated, the outlook for international intermodal has also improved.

Wallace said the future of carload traffic hinges on the recovery of the industrial economy, which is reviving more slowly. He said coal volumes will continue to be challenged.

CSX Net Earnings, Revenue Down in 4th Quarter 2019

January 18, 2020

Cost cutting can only take a company so far. That is one takeaway from the CSX announcement this week that its net earnings and revenue declined in the fourth quarter of 2019 due to a 7 percent drop in freight traffic volumes.

Net earnings fell 9 percent to $771 million, or 99 cents per share, from $843 million, or $1.01 per share in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Revenue fell 8 percent to $2.9 billion from $3.1 billion. CSX said in a news release that one bright spot was that fourth-quarter expenses were down 9 percent year over year to $1.73 billion due to efficiency gains and volume-related savings.

Operating income declined 8 percent to $1.15 billion compared to the fourth quarter of 2018.

The Class 1 carrier said the lower volumes were in part driven by loss of coal traffic.

CSX did post a 60 percent operating ratio, a fourth quarter record. The operating ratio is the percentage of revenue that is devoted to expenses.

In the fourth quarter of 2018 the operating ratio had been 60.3 percent.

For 2019 as a whole, CSX 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.

It said its full-year 2019 operating ratio of 58.4 percent set a U.S. Class I record, improving from the 2018 record result of 60.3 percent.

For the year, CSX traffic volume was down 4 percent with merchandise traffic flat, coal traffic down 5 percent, and intermodal falling by 8 percent.

CSX said much of the 17 percent decline in coal traffic in the fourth quarter of 2019 was due to fewer shipments of coal used to generate electricity. That market has been hindered by competition from natural gas.

Export coal fell due to reduced international shipments of both thermal and metallurgical coal as global benchmark prices fell.

Also falling was domestic and international intermodal shipments. CSX attributed that 7 percent decline to the closing of some low-density service lanes.

As far as the 3 percent falloff in merchandise traffic, CSX said chemicals were down due to reduced natural gas liquids, fly ash and sand shipments.

Agriculture and food products increased due to gains in ethanol, sweeteners and oil.

Automotive traffic fell due to a reduction in North American production while minerals increased due to higher shipments for highway projects.

Forest products dipped due to fewer pulp board shipments while fertilizer volume gained on short-haul phosphate shipments that offset by declines in long-haul fertilizer shipments.

Metals and equipment were down due to reduced steel, construction and scrap shipments.

In a conference call, CSX CEO James Foote sought to put a positive spin on the report by saying, “our service is the best it’s ever been and getting better.”

Mark Wallace, CSX’s executive vice president of sale and marketing, insisted that the railroad is gaining market share every day from trucks as a result.

Nonetheless, he said CSX does not foresee a contraction in trucking industry capacity that would spark an increase in truck rates that could prompt diversion of highway loads to intermodal.

Wallace also said CSX will hold the line on intermodal rates and refuse to chase volume to cutting price.

He said most of CSX’s domestic intermodal business is under long-term contracts.

In speaking to investors, Foote said traffic was hindered by a strike against General Motors last summer and the closing an oil refinery in Philadelphia following an explosion and fire.

“These are truly great results considering the industrial economy’s second half performance,” Foote said.

CSX management expects freight volume to continue to lag over the next few months due to a lackluster industrial economy.

There is a reduced global demand for thermal and metallurgical coal and low natural gas prices will depress domestic demand for coal.

The railroad’s management team said it expects to post growth numbers in 2020 in intermodal and merchandise traffic, but those will enable the carrier to overcome an expected continued decline in coal traffic.

For the year ahead, CSX is projecting revenue to fall by 2 percent compared to 2019. It has an objective of an operating ratio of 59 percent.

Capital expenses are expected to range between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion, which would be similar to what has spent in recent years.

Foote said the improvements in service quality have enabled CSX to offer service to shippers that is “truck-like in consistency.”

If CSX is to compete against truckers is must offer a reliable service. He also played up his contention that CSX is less expensive than service and more friendly to the environment due to better fuel efficiency.

Jamie Boychuk, executive vice president of operations, said improvements in velocity have enabled the carrier to tighten some of its train schedules, which might negatively affect on-time performance in the first quarter.

CSX said its train velocity has improved by 12 percent with terminal dwell down 9 percent and car miles per day up 6 percent.

During the fourth quarter, trip plan compliance was 82.6 percent for carload traffic and 95.5 percent for intermodal shipments.

The same figures for the fourth quarter of 2018 were 67.3 percent and 73.4 percent respectively.

CSX said 92 percent of its trains departed on time and 85 percent arrived on time.

Those are improvements of 18 percent and 15 percent respectively from the fourth quarter of 2018.

During the 2019 the personal injury rate for CSX employees fell by 15 percent while the train accident rate improved by 41 percent.

Despite falling traffic volume and revenue, Railway Age described CSX’s fourth quarter results as solid because the earnings per share performance exceeded that projected by Wall Street stock analysts.

“However, weak 2020 guidance and top-line outlook were the larger story, with 2020 revenue to be adversely affected by lower coal volumes and yields,” wrote Cowen and Company Managing Director and Railway Age Wall Street Contributing Editor Jason Seidl.

Seidl said his firm has lowered its 2020 and 2021 earnings per share estimates for CSX.

CSX reported earnings per share of 99 cents for the fourth quarter, which beat the 96 cents per share expected on Wall Street.

Analysts had projected CSX would have operating income of $1.18 billion while the actual figure was $1.15 billion. Revenue at  $2.89 billion was slightly below the projected $2.91 billion.

The diminishing coal market is important, Seidl noted, because it is a high-margin business. CSX management expects to lose $300 million coal revenue this year.

Cowen is projecting that 2020 and 2021 earnings per share estimates for CSX will be $4.10 and $4.50 to account for CSX management’s new outlook. The projections had been $4.40 and $4.75, respectively.

CSX Sees Success in Winning Traffic From Trucks

November 7, 2019

Amid a steady stream of gloomy news and prognostications about falling railroad freight volumes, CSX CEO James Foote said this week that his carrier is starting to see some success in winning back business from truckers.

Speaking at the Baird 2019 Global Industrial Conference, Foote said CSX is starting to reverse the loss of business to highways.

“Our customers are coming to us, in many instances, and saying how can we ship more by rail?” Foote said.

He said improved service and lower rates than truck will help CSX regain market share.

“What it boils down to is running a really, really good railroad,” Foote said.

Foote said CSX’s merchandise volumes are outperforming the rest of the industry, which he said is a sign that the railroad has regained traffic from truckers.

Through Sept. 30 CSX merchandise traffic was up 1 percent while eastern rival Norfolk Southern has seen its merchandise volume fall 3 during the same period.

Foote expects CSX to post gains next year in domestic intermodal volumes but coal traffic whether for domestic use or exports, will remain challenged due to lower-priced natural gas and less global demand for metallurgical coal.

Foote said trip plan compliance for intermodal traffic has of late been in the 95 percent range while carload freight compliance has been 82.5 percent.

Noting that railroads have been losing market share of merchandise traffic to trucks for decades, Foote said that was because truckers provided better service while railroad service was poor.

“There is a tremendous amount of opportunity for us to grow our merchandise franchise, just tremendous,” Foote said.

Currently, railroads have an 8 percent share of the transportation business in North America.

Foote was reluctant to say if merchandise traffic at CSX could grow as fast as the overall economy or at least faster than the rate of industrial production because there is too much economic uncertainty, global trade tensions, and a slowing industrial economy.

An audience member asked Foote about CSX’s operating ratio, which was 56.8 percent in the third quarter and if it would remain in the mid-50s.

In response Foote said the OR is a measure of how well a railroad is growing revenue and controlling costs and he said he didn’t know if an OR of 56 percent or even 60 percent would enable CSX to produce consistent earnings growth year after year.

“It’s not a quest to get as low as you want it to be,” Foote said. “If somebody was going to give me an award for giving you a 55, I could probably get to a 55 tomorrow. But you’d have to chop off a whole bunch of business to do it, and that’s not what we’re here to do.”

CSX Revenue, Traffic Fell in 3rd Quarter

October 17, 2019

As expected, the third quarter profits of CSX fell due to flat operating income and falling revenue.

The carrier said on Wednesday that declines in intermodal and coal revenue  traffic drove the declines.

CSX reported operating income  of  $1.28 billion and a 5 percent decline in revenue to $2.97 billion.

Net income fell 4 percent to $856 million by earnings per share grew 3 percent to $1.08.

The operating ratio set a record by improving 1.9 points to 56.8 percent.

“I am extremely proud of our dedicated team of CSX railroaders for once again setting new records for operating efficiency, customer service, and safety this quarter,” CSX CEO James Foote said in a statement.

“These results reflect our continued commitment toward being the best run railroad in North America and providing our customers with best-in-class service.”

Merchandise revenue was flat while coal and intermodal combined were down 9 percent. Overall, traffic volume fell 5 percent in the quarter compared to the third quarter of 2018.

Carload trip plan compliance rose to 74.6 percent compared to 66.1 percent last year. Intermodal trip plan compliance was 94.2 percent compared to 79.8 percent in the third quarter of 2018.

Cars spent more time in yards but trains moved faster. The average terminal dwell was up 3 percent while average train speed was up 13 percent.

CSX operated an average of 87 trains per day with distributed power, up from just a dozen in the third quarter of 2018. This enabled CSX to post a 5 percent gain in fuel efficiency.

The personal injury rate dropped by 5 percent while the train accident rate plunged was down by 51 percent, a company record.

CSX also set a record for the fewest number of train accidents in a quarter.

CSX expects that when 2019 is over it will have seen a  revenue decline of 1 percent to 2 percent  but will have posted a sub-60 percent operating ratio and capital spending of between $1.6 billion and $1.7 billion.

CSX Lowers 2019 Revenue Forecast

July 18, 2019

CSX this week modified its 2019 revenue outlook after posting lower than expected revenue and traffic volumes during the second quarter.

CEO James Foote said CSX is taking a cautious approach in an environment of economic uncertainty.

The carrier now expects revenue to fall by 1 to 2 percent this year. Its earlier projections had forecast single-digit revenue growth.

However, CSX still expects to spend up to $1.7 billion on capital projects and to achieve an operating ratio below 60 percent for the year.

During the second quarter, CSX saw its operating income rise by 2 percent to $1.3 billion, as revenue declined 1 percent to $3 billion.

Earnings per share rose 7 percent to $1.08, which was 3 cents below what stock analysts had expected.

At 57.4 percent the operating ratio posted a 1.2-point improvement over the second quarter of 2018. Railroad-related expenses fell by 3 percent.

One factor figuring into the revised projections is loss of crude oil shipments due to a fire at a refinery owned by Philadelphia Energy Solutions.

The refinery, the largest on the East Coast, closed in the aftermath of the fire.

Foote sought to put an optimistic spin on the financial data by saying he was proud of CSX employees for having achieved record levels of efficiency during the quarter while showing significant improvements in safety.

“These results reflect the strength of our operating model, and combined with continued improvements in our best-in-class customer service, represent significant progress toward our goal of being the best run railroad in North America,” he said in a statement.

CSX also touted improvements in its service metrics, saying that intermodal trip-plan compliance was 89.8 percent compared with 62 percent a year ago.

Merchandise trip-plan compliance was 73.3 percent compared with 58.3 percent a year ago.

Train velocity rose by 14 percent while terminal dwell time improved 6 percent. Personal injury rates fell 21 percent while the train accident rate fell 54 percent.

The carrier said improved track inspections resulted in an 85 percent year-to-date reduction in mainline derailments.

CSX Reports Big Jump in 3rd Quarter Earnings

October 18, 2018

CSX reported this week that its third-quarter net earnings jumped 95 percent to $894 million, or $1.05 per share. The comparison is with the third quarter of 2017 when CSX earned $459 million, or 51 cents per share

In a news release, CSX said its per-share earnings beat analysts’ estimates for the quarter.
The railroad said its operating ratio of 58.7 percent set a company third-quarter record. A year ago, CSX posted a third-quarter operating ratio of 68.4 percent.

Revenue in the quarter rose 14 percent over the prior year to $3.13 billion, which CSX attributed to “volume growth, increases in fuel recovery, favorable mix, higher supplemental revenue and pricing gains.”

Expenses dropped 2 percent to $1.84 billion, as expenses associated with increased volume and higher fuel prices were offset by efficiency gains as CSX continues to implement its scheduled railroading business model, company officials said.

Third-quarter operating income rose 49 percent to $1.29 billion from $868 million a year ago.

During an earnings conference call CEO James Foote said company officials are “very excited about the railroad’s strong performance.”

For all of 2018, CSX said it expects to reach 6 percent to 8 percent revenue growth, which Foote said would exceed what management anticipated.

“Only 8 months since our investor conference and — by almost any measure — we are ahead of where I thought I we would be,” Foote said. “I am proud of what has been accomplished and I’m encouraged by all the opportunity in front of us.”

Foote said CSX almost has met its workforce reduction target of 2,000 positions for 2018 and will continue reducing its employee rolls in 2019. He attributed that to expected efficiency gains. CSX employs 22,562.

Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro said CSX needs fewer people as it moves more tonnage with a smaller locomotive fleet and fewer rail cars.

“Clearly we are doing very well,” said Mark Wallace, CSX’s executive vice president of sales and marketing. “And service is excellent, the pricing environment is very, very good, customers are moving more freight back to the railroad — and that is a trend that will continue.”

Merchandise traffic was up 5 percent for the quarter while coal traffic grew 7 percent due to a 22 percent rise in export coal shipments.

However, domestic utility coal traffic fell by 2 percent and fertilizer traffic was down due to a plant closure. Intermodal traffic was up 3 percent for the quarter.

CSX said rail cars are spending less time in yards and trains are moving faster as terminal dwell times has fallen by 26 percent and average train velocity is up 28 percent.

However, there was little improvement in on-time originations, which remained at 85 percent. On-time arrivals improved 3 points to 64 percent.

The carrier said it has created a new service metric known as trip plan compliance, which monitors how well freight cars and intermodal containers and trailers meet their schedules.

That compliance was up 26 percent versus the first quarter and 13 percent compared to the second quarter.

“While we have made good progress, there’s plenty of room to improve,” Foote said during the conference call, noting that trip-plan compliance was in the upper 70-percent range for the quarter.

The railroad wants to get it closer to 100 percent, Foote said.

CSX said its real estate sales have increased by $52 million higher over last year largely due to the sale of some lines to short-line railroads.

The railroad said it expects to soon sell another 1,000 miles of railroad and continues to review its 8,000-mile systems for further sale opportunities.

CSX Sets Operating Ratio Record in 2nd Quarter

July 19, 2018

CSX announced on Wednesday that during the second quarter of 2018 it set a record for its lowest quarterly operating ratio and said that along with gains in profits and revenues are evidence that its scheduled railroading operations model has begun to pay off.

Net earnings were $877 million, or $1.01 per share, compared with $510 million, or 55 cents per share for the second quarter of 2017.

The operating ratio fell to 58.6 percent, which was a drop of 4.9 points compared to the operating ratio of the same quarter of 2018.

In a news release, CSX said the operating ratio announced this week is adjusted for the impact of one-time restructuring costs.

In a statement, CSX CEO Jim Foote called the operating ratio “clearly the lowest ever for CSX and, I believe, the lowest ever by a U.S. railroad.”

Revenue increased 6 percent, to $3.1 billion for the quarter.

Earnings per share rose 84 percent, to $1.01, topping Wall Street estimates of 87 cents per share.

Analysts credited the improved showing to the effects of tax reform and share buybacks.

“Two words sum up everything: Great performance,” Foote said during an earnings call with investors and Wall Street analysts.

Freight traffic on CSX rose 2 percent for the quarter, led by a 7 percent rise in coal shipments. However, CSX said utility coal was down due to competition from natural gas.

CSX officials expect a strong export coal market to continue for metallurgical and thermal coal.

A boost in international intermodal traffic enabled CSX to post a 2 percent in total intermodal traffic which came despite losses in domestic intermodal volume.

CSX executives project that revenue will increase by mid single-digits compared with their previous forecast of being up slightly.

Foote said the change in outlook came because of expectations for continued strong export coal shipments, higher fuel prices, and a healthy U.S. economy.

Chief Financial Officer Frank Lonegro said that CSX handled more freight with 9 percent fewer crew starts and 13 percent fewer locomotives.

The smaller locomotive and car fleet size meant that the railroad was able to cut its shop craft workforce by 18 percent compared with a year ago.

Overall, CSX’s costs fell during the second quarter by 8 percent with labor expenses dropping by 10 percent.

The improved operating ratio was helped by service improvements that saw train velocity up 7 percent, dwell time down 11 percent and train length up 13 percent on a year over year basis.

By commodity, CSX logged year-over-year second-quarter revenue increases in chemicals (up 7 percent), automotive (7 percent), agriculture and food products (up 2 percent), minerals (up 7 percent), forest products (up 11 percent), and metals and equipment (up 11 percent).

Fertilizer revenue declined 5 percent on an 18 percent drop in volume compared with the same quarter in 2017.

Year over year, coal revenue and volume each rose 7 percent, while intermodal revenue rose 9 percent on a 2 percent increase in volume.