Coal gains just a blip for rail­roads

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ONLINE EXTRA -

Coal proved to be a rev­enue bright spot for CSX and Union Pa­cific last quar­ter, but that won’t change the long-term out­look for the fuel and its re­la­tion­ship to rail­road ship­ping.

“Fos­sil fu­els are dead. That's a long-term view,” said CSX CEO Hunter Har­ri­son fol­low­ing the lat­est quar­terly re­sults. “It’s not go­ing to hap­pen overnight. It’s not go­ing to be two or three years, but it’s go­ing away in my view.”

Both CSX and Union Pa­cific have seen rev­enue from coal ship­ments steadily erode over the last few years and be­come a less im­por­tant piece of their over­all ship­ping. Cheaper nat­u­ral gas has been driv­ing down the use of coal and that dy­namic isn’t ex­pected to change.

The rail­road com­pa­nies have been re­struc­tur­ing to make their oper­a­tions more stream­lined. CSX has taken lo­co­mo­tives and freight cars out of ser­vice while also shut­ting rail yards to elim­i­nate re­dun­dancy.

Source: Fac­tSet *fig­ures in­clude only the first half of the year Damian Troise; Alex Nieves • AP

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