CSX 3Q railroad profit jumps 32% as volume grows 3%

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — CSX delivered a 32% jump in third-quarter profit as the volume of goods it hauled increased even beyond last fall’s strong level.

The Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad said Wednesday that it made $968 million, or 43 cents per share, in the quarter. That’s up from $736 million, or 32 cents per share, a year ago.

Shipping volume was up 3% overall across CSX’s network. That came despite a 26% drop in automotive shipments as that industry struggles to maintain production because of the ongoing chip shortages. Agricultural shipments also slipped 5% but every other category of shipments was up in the quarter.

CSX’s profits topped the 38 cents per share that the analysts surveyed by FactSet predicted.

The railroad said its revenue grew 24% from last year to $3.29 billion, driven by the volume growth. That also topped the $3.06 billion that analysts predicted.

CSX said it was maintaining its outlook for double-digit revenue growth this year even without the impact of its recent acquisition of Quality Carriers.

Last year, CSX and the other major railroads were hit with a sharp decline in shipments during the initial months of the coronavirus outbreak, followed by a surge that began in the second half of last year and continues today.

So the volume comparisons this quarter were tougher than earlier this year because last fall the economy was roaring back to life as restrictions related to the pandemic were being lifted.

The railroad is also dealing with supply chain problems that have been delaying shipments nationwide because of the backlog at ports and a shortage of truck drivers to deliver containers of goods to their final destinations.

“We are committed to helping our customers overcome current supply chain constraints and will continue to take action in order to keep our network fluid and design new solutions that enable the delivery of critical goods to millions of Americans,” CSX CEO Jim Foote said.

CSX is one of the nation’s largest railroads, and it operates more than 21,000 miles (34,000 kilometers) of track in 23 Eastern states and two Canadian provinces.

Shares in CSX Corp. were up about 3% in after-hours trading following the release of the earnings report.