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Rail News Home Norfolk Southern Railway


Rail News: Norfolk Southern Railway

NS posts Q4 profit, revenue decline on lower volume


Norfolk Southern Corp. reported today fourth-quarter 2019 net income decreased 5 percent to $666 million, or $2.55 per diluted share, compared with net income of $702 million, or $2.57 per share, a year earlier.

The Class I's railway operating revenue declined 7 percent to $2.7 billion in the quarter, driven by a 9 percent decrease in total volume, NS officials said in a press release.

Operating expenses were $1.7 billion, down $90 million compared with the same period last year. Lower compensation and benefits, fuel costs, equipment rents and materials usage were partially offset by lower gains on operating property sales and increased purchased services expense.

Income from railway operations was $1 billion, down $116 million year over year.

NS posted an operating ratio of 64.2 percent for the quarter and 64.7 percent for the full year, a record result.

For the full year, NS reported net income of $2.72 billion, or $10.25 per share, compared with $2.67 billion, or $9.51 per share, a year earlier.

Year over year, railway operating revenue fell 1 percent to $11.3 billion on a 5 percent decrease in overall volume. Carloads declined in all major commodity categories.

The Class I cut operating expenses by 3 percent to $7.3 billion. Income from railway operations rose 1 percent to $4 billion, an all-time record.

NS spent 2019 putting in place its precision-scheduled railroading (PSR) plan known as TOP21.

"Norfolk Southern's strong financial performance in a year of macroeconomic headwinds is underpinned by the hard work of our team to expeditiously implement productivity initiatives throughout the year," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer James Squires.

Efficiency-related cost savings gained steam in the third quarter and increased in the fourth quarter, which resulted in the record full-year operating ratio, he said.

At the same time, NS produced an all-time best delivery performance for customers, Squires added.

"The momentum we're carrying into 2020 will support continued value creation as we remain dedicated to the operational transformation of our business while ensuring we have a platform for growth as we look beyond the current freight cycle," he said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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