Norfolk Southern profit in the second quarter fell 5.9 percent year-over-year to $524 million, as a 15 percent plunge in coal revenue kept total revenue growth nearly flat.
A 4 percent rise in intermodal revenue helped offset the drop in coal business, keeping total revenue at $2.9 billion. The year-over-year earnings comparison also suffered from the $63 million tax benefit NS enjoyed in the second quarter in 2011.
The railroad also reduced its operating expenses by 3 percent to $1.9 billion compared to the same period, pulling down its operating ratio by 2 percentage points to a record 67.5 percent.
“Our income from operations, diluted earnings per share and improved operating ratio all set records, despite the slow economic recovery and softness in our coal franchise," said CEO Wick Moorman.
The carrier’s archrival, CSX, slightly fared better in the second quarter. Improved operations at the Jacksonville, Fla.-based company helped counter a slight drop in volume, pushing profit up 1.2 percent to $512 million.