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Railroad operator CSX’s profit falls 13% on lower fuel surcharge

U.S. railroad operator CSX Corp reported a 13% drop in fourth-quarter profit on Wednesday, weighed down by dip in revenues from fuel surcharge, intermodal storage and trucking. The company’s net earnings fell to $886 million, or 45 cents per share, from about $1.02 billion, or 49 cents per share, a year earlier.

The Jacksonville, Florida-based company, which mainly operates in the eastern United States, said revenue slipped 1% to about $3.7 billion.

“Domestic coal decreased primarily due to lower shipments of coal to utility plants, as well as lower shipments to river terminals and industrial customers,” CSX said in a statement

International shipments decreased due to port congestion leading to in a backlog of shipments during the quarter, CSX said. Intermodal volumes remained flat from a year earlier, while fuel surcharge revenue fell to $334 million from $406 million.

Post-pandemic changes in U.S. consumer spending, shifting from goods to services, combined with global shipping delays have left rail-road operators like CSX grappling with reduced transport volumes. Operating ratio, a key metric, was 64.1% compared with nearly 61%.

Peer Union Pacific is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter results on Thursday.