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Railroads share coal industry’s problems

BECKLEY, W.Va. — CSX and Norfolk Southern officials said recently their railways lost more than a billion dollars in revenue over the last four years because of declining coal shipments and they expect losses to continue.

Shipments sank because of declining exports and increasing use of natural gas, the officials said.

Fredrik Eliasson, CSX executive vice president and chief financial officer, said the railroad experienced a $900 million decline since 2011 in revenue generated by coal shipments.

In a speech made at the Deutsche Bank Global Materials and Basic Materials Conference in Chicago earlier this month, Eliasson said CSX has seen a 13 percent decline in export coal so far this fiscal quarter and the market is expected to continue downward the remainder of 2015.

In a video of his speech, he said CSX transported 39 million tons of coal for export last year, but 2015 projections are for only 30 million tons.

Eliasson quantified the decline by saying the railroad is hauling between 7 million and 7.5 million tons fewer than two years ago because of coal-power plant shutdowns…

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