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Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway

Squires: NS meeting key business goals

Norfolk Southern Chairman, President and CEO James Squires
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Norfolk Southern Corp. is meeting key financial targets, improving operating efficiencies and advancing sustainable growth, Chief Executive Officer and President James Squires told shareholders attending the company's annual meeting held yesterday.

In 2017, the company delivered record results in several key financial measures, including all-time best earnings per share and operating ratio. Additionally, NS achieved productivity savings of $150 million, which were driven by efficiencies that included record locomotive fuel economy, said Squires, according to an NS press release.

Those results came despite hurricanes and winter storms that disrupted rail operations across the industry, he added.

Moreover, the company is expanding its use of digital and remote-sensing technologies to enhance efficiency and customer service.

"While Norfolk Southern remains steel wheels on steel rails, we are moving ahead with 21st century technologies that improve our competitive edge," said Squires. "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."

NS continued its strong financial performance in the first quarter of 2018, with year-over-year growth in shipment volumes and revenue, and first-quarter records in net income, earnings per share and operating ratio, he said.

Favorable economic conditions and market trends point to continued business growth in 2018, Squires added.

"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," he said. "We are supporting our customers' growth and investing strategically for the future. … As we look at the year ahead and longer term, we are optimistic about the opportunities in front of us."

Also yesterday, shareholders re-elected 12 board directors for terms expiring in 2019. The 12 include Squires, who serves as chairman.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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