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4/30/2002



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

NS needs to 'stand and fight' to continue growing, Goode says


Norfolk Southern Railway is in a fighting mood when it comes to achieving its "7 + 7" goal of increasing revenue to $7 billion or more and lowering its operating ratio into the 70s.
For example, the railroad could have disposed of 485 track miles in eastern North Carolina, but instead last month created the East Carolina Business Unit to locally manage the area's accounts with short line-like flexibility and speed, and help NS achieve its 7 + 7 goals, said NS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer David Goode in the railroad's monthly newsletter released April 29.
"The right choice was to stand and fight," he said. "We needed to try something different in an area that had flat revenues, high costs and faced costly reinvestment."
The business unit includes 100 NS employees charged with managing NS track east and south of Raleigh, N.C., bringing the railroad closer to local customers and improving asset use.
Goode believes NS faces similar stand-and-fight challenges in other markets because of changes in sourcing patterns and production locations, and the soft world economy.
"If we are going to get to '7 + 7,' we need to fight our way there," he said.
"Our commodity mix is different. Our customers' expectations have changed, and we must be able to respond quickly and appropriately to meet those new expectations."


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