How Does CSX Corporation’s Revenue And Key Operating Metrics Compare With That of Norfolk Southern?

by Trefis Team
CSX Corporation
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CSX Corporation (NYSE: CSX) and Norfolk Southern (NYSE: NSC) are both railroad companies in the U.S., engaged in the transportation of various commodities, including industrial and coal among others. While both CSX Corporation and Norfolk Southern have similar revenue, as well as historical trend, CSX Corporation’s profitability is slightly higher than that of Norfolk Southern. In this note we compare both the companies’ revenues and key operating metrics. You can look at our interactive dashboard analysis ~ CSX Corporation vs. Norfolk Southern: How Have Revenues & Key Operating Metrics Changed Over Recent Years? ~ for more details. In addition, you can see more of our data for industrial companies here.

How Have Total Revenues For CSX Corporation And Norfolk Southern Trended Over The Last 5 Years?

  • CSX Corporation and Norfolk Southern are both engaged primarily in freight transportation in the United States.
  • CSX Corporation’s revenues have declined from $12.7 billion in 2014 to $12.3 billion in 2018, primarily due to a lower coal freight revenues.
  • Norfolk Southern’s revenues have declined slightly from $11.6 billion in 2014 to $11.5 billion in 2018, also due to lower coal freight revenues.

CSX Corporation’s Revenues Have Declined At A Slightly Higher Pace Than That of Norfolk Southern

  • Both CSX Corporation and Norfolk Southern saw a modest decline in revenues between 2014 and 2018.
  • CSX Corporation’s revenues declined at an average annual rate of 0.7% , while that of Norfolk Southern was less than 0.1%.

Volume Shipped Has Been Higher For Norfolk Southern, While The ARPU Has Been Better For CSX Corporation.

  • CSX Corporation’s total carloads shipped declined slightly from 6.76 million in 2014 to 6.48 million in 2018.
  • Norfolk Southern’s total carloads grew slightly from 7.67 million in 2014 to 7.93 million in 2018.
  • CSX’s Carloads As of 2018:
    • Merchandise: 2.70 Mil (42% of total)
    • Coal: 0.89 Mil (14% of total)
    • Intermodal: 2.90 Mil (44% of total)
  • Norfolk Southern’s Carloads As of 2018:
    • Merchandise: 2.52 Mil (32%) of total
    • Coal: 1.03 Mil (13% of total)
    • Intermodal: 4.38 Mil (55% of total)

  • CSX Corporation’s average revenue per carload has been trending higher in the recent years. It grew from $1,873 in 2014 to $1,890 in 2018.
  • Norfolk Southern’s average revenue per carload has declined from $1,514 in 2014 to $1,445 in 2018.

Average Revenue Per Employee Has Been A Little Higher For CSX Corporation.

  • Average Revenue Per Employee (ARPE) has fluctuated in the past for both the companies.
  • CSX Corporation’s ARPE declined from $405K in 2014 to $354K in 2016, but grew to $486 in 2018, led by a reduction in the workforce.
  • Similarly, Norfolk Southern’s ARPE declined from $394K in 2014 to $353K in 2016, but grew thereafter to $430 in 2018, also led by reduction in the workforce.

CSX Corporation’s Gross Profit Margin And Adjusted Net Income Margin Have Been Higher Than That of Norfolk Southern

  • When it comes to profitability, CSX Corporation beats Norfolk Southern. CSX Corporation’s operating margin has grown from 28.5% in 2014 to 39.7% in 2018.
  • This compares with Norfolk Southern’s operating margin, which grew from 30.8% in 2014 to 34.6% in 2018.

  • Looking at adjusted net income margin, CSX Corporation saw the margins grow from 15% in 2014 to 27% in 2018.
  • Norfolk Southern’s net income margin grew from 17% in 2014 to 23% in 2018.



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