NS Issues Green Bond Project Report

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
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Norfolk Southern (NS) has published a report on the sustainability initiatives funded through its May 2021 issuance of $500 million in green bonds.

NS on May 11 reported allocating $496 million in net proceeds from its green bonds to fund eligible projects, as defined under its Green Financing Framework. This includes:

 $275.6 million for DC to AC locomotive power conversions. By 2025, Wabtec will have competed the modernization of more than 950 GE Dash 9-44CW units for NS.

• $10.9 million for locomotive fuel management. NS said this directly supports its science-based target to reduce carbon emissions intensity 42% by 2034.

The GP34ECO is powered by a 3,000 h.p. 12-710 EMD engine, according to collaborators Norfolk Southern and Progress Rail.

$1.4 million for a GP34 ECO yard unit. In September 2021, NS teamed with Progress Rail, a Caterpillar Company, on the unit, which is powered by a 3,000-h.p. 12-710 EMD engine and uses the “first diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) / selective catalytic reduction (SCR) aftertreatment system intended for line haul locomotive applications,” the companies said.

• $99.5 million for intermodal facility improvements. This work will “further support efforts to shift millions of tons of freight onto the railroad to decongest our nation’s highways,” the Class I said. (Earlier this year, for example, NS completed installation of five diesel-electric hybrid overhead gantry cranes at intermodal terminals in Chicago. Additionally, in December 2021, NS launched a pilot incentive program at its Chicago, Ill., and Kansas City, Mo., international intermodal terminals in an aim to ease pandemic-related congestion.)

• $97.8 million for the rail, ties and ballast program. “Consistent with recent practice,” NS reported that it “expects to continue recycling 100% of used rail and crossties. Roughly 50% of used shoulder ballast is reclaimed, screened and reused.”

• $6.5 million for rail siding extensions.

• $0.9 million for shore line restoration and $3.4 million for stream and wetland ecosystems restoration. NS’s “living shoreline along the Elizabeth River at our Lamberts Point Terminal in Norfolk, Va., provides habitat for oysters, river otters, shore birds, and other wildlife,” the Class I railroad reported. “Working in partnership with the Elizabeth River Project—a nonprofit whose mission is to protect the river’s water quality—we’ve produced a 900-linear-foot sill of stone, sand, marsh grasses, and oyster shells placed in the waters of the Elizabeth River to limit future erosion.” Additionally, the 14,405-acre Brosnan Forest near Charleston, S.C., is the location of NS’s “Coldwater Branch stream mitigation project—an effort that has restored 500 acres of wetlands and over six miles of stream habitat while protecting an additional 600 acres of upland habitat.”

NS Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mark George (left); NS Chief Sustainability Officer Josh Raglin.

“Our industry-first green bond offering funds projects that align our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and advance sustainable business practices, all while delivering long-term value for our customers, communities, and shareholders,” NS Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Mark George said.

“Norfolk Southern intends to build on its industry-leading position in delivering the low-carbon economy while helping customers reduce their supply chain emissions,” NS Chief Sustainability Officer Josh Raglin said.

Download the NS Green Bond Project Report here:

Download the NS Green Financing Framework here:

In related news, NS reported late last month that its new headquarters building in Atlanta, Ga., has been awarded LEED® Gold certification for sustainable design and construction.

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