Squires: Norfolk Southern “a good story”

Written by Stuart Chirls, Senior Editor
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Norfolk Southern Chairman, President and CEO Jim Squires

Norfolk Southern in 2017 recorded record earnings and operating ratio, part of a “good story” that has carried over into 2018.

The Class I is achieving key financial targets, improving operating efficiencies, and advancing sustainable growth, Chief Executive James A. Squires told the company’s annual meeting of shareholders May 10 in Norfolk.

“Our business is about movement, and I can tell you that we are moving forward,” Squires said. “The Norfolk Southern team’s continued success in executing our plan is driving long-term value, and that’s a good story for our shareholders.”

In 2017 NS saw all-time best earnings per share and operating ratio, and productivity savings of $150 million, driven by efficiencies that included record locomotive fuel economy.

Despite hurricanes and winter storms that disrupted rail operations across the industry, Squires said the company is “fully engaged in efforts to ensure that we can provide stable, resilient service over the long-term. Our commitment to operational excellence is unwavering.”

Squires noted that Norfolk Southern is expanding its use of digital and remote-sensing technologies to enhance operating efficiencies and customer service.

“[W]e are moving ahead with 21st century technologies that improve our competitive edge,” Squires said. “With them, we are helping customers better manage supply chains in this demanding era of e-commerce, and we are improving the way we monitor and manage things, from locomotive performance to rail wear.”

Results so far in 2018 have been strong, Squires said, year-over-year growth in shipment volumes and revenue and first-quarter records in net income, earnings per share, and operating ratio. “Favorable economic conditions and market trends point to continued business growth this year – and Norfolk Southern is in an excellent position to grow, Squires said.

“Our network reaches two-thirds of the U.S. population, and the East Coast markets we serve offer a wealth of opportunities to convert freight from highway to rail,” Squires said. “We are supporting our customers’ growth and investing strategically for the future…[A]s we look at the year ahead and longer-term, we are optimistic about the opportunities in front of us.”

In official business, based on preliminary results, shareholders re-elected 12 directors, including Squires, for terms expiring in 2019:

– Thomas D. Bell Jr., chairman of Mesa Capital Partners LLC

– Wesley G. Bush, chairman and chief executive of Northrop Grumman Corporation

– Daniel A. Carp, former chairman and chief executive of Eastman Kodak Company

­– Mitchell E. Daniels Jr., president of Purdue University

– Marcela E. Donadio, former partner and Americas Oil & Gas Sector Leader of Ernst & Young LLP

– Steven F. Leer, former chief executive and chairman of Arch Coal Inc.

– Michael D. Lockhart, former chairman, president, and chief executive of Armstrong World Industries Inc.

– Amy E. Miles, former chair and chief executive of Regal Entertainment Group Inc.

– Martin H. Nesbitt, co-founder of The Vistria Group

– Jennifer F. Scanlon, president and chief executive of USG Corporation

– John R. Thompson, former senior vice president and general manager of BestBuy.com LLC

Jim Squires will address the opening session of Railway Insights, June 7–8 at the Union League Club of Chicago. Register here

Categories: Class I, Freight, Intermodal, M/W, News Tags: ,