Freight Forecasting

CSX 2Q21: ‘Solid Beat’

CSX in second-quarter 2021 reported an exceptionally low operating ratio (OR) of 43.4%, along with significant increases in earnings and revenue. The OR calculation included a credit against expenses resulting from the sale of certain property rights on CSX-owned line segments to the Commonwealth of Virginia for passenger rail operations. Adjusted to exclude the real estate transaction, the OR is 55.1%, still exceptionally low.

‘Maybe So Sir, But Not Today’

I spent about a half-decade of my railway career working with several intermodal freight logistics luminaries: Marvin Manheim of Northwestern University’s Transportation Center, Penn State Professor of Logistics Kant Rao and Bryan Stone of Intercontainer, with contributions from Rick Hill and Dick Andino, pioneers of ship-to-rail intermodal at APL. These folks and others helped shape my view of moving containers along complex links and nodes among different modes and terminals.

Cowen: Biden’s EO a ‘Laundry List’

We hosted our second call with a noted transportation attorney to discuss the Executive Order signed by President Biden on July 9. It appears to be much more measured than early reporting initially indicated. The tone surrounding the railroads implied recognized independence of the Surface Transportation Board, and is likely in line with the thinking of the Marty Oberman-led organization. Longer term, we will monitor bottleneck implications.

Reciprocal Switching: Complex, Expensive, Time-Consuming (i.e. Mostly a Bad Idea)

Here are a few observations about the often operationally complex competitive rail carload service that many shippers and public advocates would like federal regulators to shove down the throats of the railroads: “reciprocal switching,” or as the Association of American Railroads calls it, “forced access,” a “misguided” method that could, ultimately, undermine the railroads’ ability to reliably serve customers.