CSX profit jumps again in first quarter

April 20, 2011

CSX profit jumped 30 percent during the first quarter 2011 versus the first quarter 2010, the railroad reported April 19. This comes on the heels of a 35 percent improvement in operating profit for calendar year 2010.

The CSX employee headcount rose in March to 30,464 employees, up 3 percent from March 2010, the railroad said.

More positive financial news is expected from other major railroads as they report first quarter results in the days ahead. Union Pacific will report its first quarter results April 20.

The CSX operating ratio for the first quarter 2011 — one of the more difficult for railroads because of winter weather — was a record low 72.5 for any first quarter. The fourth quarter 2010 CSX operating ratio was 71.1, and the railroad predicted its operating ratio could fall to a record-low 65 this year.

Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the higher is profit.

“Shipments across all major markets — merchandise, intermodal and coal — increased as the economy continued to grow,” the railroad told financial analysts.

CSX operates some 21,000 route miles in 23 states and the District of Columbia.