CSX Transportation, the eastern U.S. railroad that is the first of the major rail lines to report earnings for the July-September quarter, saw net income jump 43 percent to $414 million on a combination of increased business and continued cost cuts.
CSX revenue rose 16 percent from the same 2009 quarter to $2.67 billion, but expenses fell 9 percent to $1.84 billion on double-digit declines in fuel and labor costs.
Its profit margin – net income as a percent of revenue – was 15.5 percent in the 2010 period, up from 12.7 percent a year earlier.
By The Numbers: U.S. Rail Cargo.
Michael Ward, the board chairman, president and CEO, said with the economy improving, CSX saw volume growth in nearly all markets while boosting productivity.
Total carload and intermodal traffic rose 10 percent from a year earlier, while revenue per unit rose only 6 percent. That was mainly from a shift in intermodal, where volume rose 19 percent in the latest quarter but average revenue per shipment fell 11 percent.
Automotive volume rose 44 percent from the time last year when the economic recovery was just getting under way and auto plants were starting to reopen after recession shutdowns. Forest product traffic was flat, in line with the continuing housing market weakness, and other major cargo categories grew at single-digit rates or held steady.
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