NS first-quarter profit leaps 26 percent

April 28, 2011

Norfolk Southern reported a 26 percent increase in profit for first quarter 2011 versus first quarter 2010. This follows a 45 jump in NS profit for calendar-year 2010.

NS CEO Wick Moorman said the railroad intends to add some 1,100 new workers during 2011, returning employment to the same level as in 2008.

NS operating ratio for first quarter 2011 was 77.1 percent, higher than the 75.2 percent in the first quarter 2010, owing, in part, to severe winter weather. The fourth-quarter 2010 NS operating ratio was 71.9 percent.

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.

Moorman told Wall Street analysts, “We see continuing opportunities for growth in almost every segment of our business, and we’re optimistic about our prospects for the balance of 2011.”

NS operates some 20,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia.