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CSX and Canadian Pacific are the first North American rail operators to release third-quarter results, and it seems one – intermodally at least – has more to cheer about.
CSX reported a strong three months, with total volumes up 5% to 718,000 carloads and revenue increasing some 5% to $446m, although revenue per unit saw a marginal dip.
The carrier’s international Q3 volumes were up 11%, “driven by new customers and strong performance with existing customers as eastern port volumes increased”.
The strong numbers for CSX are positive news for the US operator, which has faced strong criticism from the Surface Transportation Board (STB) over a perceived decline in service.
Chief executive Hunter Harrison pointed to the results as proof that CSX implementing his precision scheduled railroading model “was the right call”, despite complaints from customers and the STB.
He said: “The company’s results for the third quarter reflect the resiliency of precision scheduled railroading, even during times of transition.
“With that transition largely behind us, we are now intensely focused on driving superior service for our customers and lasting value for our shareholders.”
Over the nine months to September, CSX carried more than two million intermodal carloads, up 3% on last year, with revenue increasing 6% to $1.3bn and revenue per unit growing 3% to $625.
In contrast, CP saw intermodal volumes decline 2% to 253,600 carloads, and revenue fall 2% to C$342m (US$273m) in the third quarter.
However, its nine-month intermodal revenue passed the billion (Canadian) dollar mark (US$800m), up 3% year-on-year, as volumes climbed to 1.3m carloads, with revenue per unit gaining 7%.