CSX profit in the second quarter rose 1.2 percent year-over-year to $512 million, as improved operations helped offset a slight drop in volume, particularly in coal, and nearly flat revenue.
The railroad’s revenue fell $7 million to $3.012 billion compared to the same period a year ago, largely because coal revenue and volume both plunged 14 percent. Increased federal regulation of coal emissions, a warmer winter and cheap natural gas have pulled down coal shipments nationwide.
Agricultural products also suffered, slipping 4 percent year-over-year in the second quarter. Intermodal volume rose 8 percent in the same period, and automotive shipments jumped 27 percent.
"CSX delivered its 10th straight quarter of year-over-year earnings growth despite significant headwinds in its utility coal business," said Michael Ward, chairman, president and chief executive officer. "The company continues to perform well across a wide range of economic and market conditions."
The average revenue per carload and intermodal unit, a key measure of pricing, rose 2 percent, while business gained just from intermodal units increased 5 percent. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based company’s operating ratio in the second quarter improved 0.6 percentage points to 68.7 percent compared to the same period in 2011.