CSX's stock took a hit Thursday after it announced earnings Wednesday that fell short of predictions. After closing at "I was pretty pleased with the quarter, though obviously
Fourth-quarter net earnings were
But Ward said the number was skewed because of
"That accounted for
For the year, revenue increased 2 percent to
Ward said carloads carried by the railroad were up 6 percent for the year while coal, long a railroad staple, was down 5 percent.
Coal makes up 17 percent of CSX's carloads and 25 percent of its revenue, Ward said.
But the company has seen revenue from coal shipments drop by
Most of that is because utilities are switching to natural gas.
Ward said he expects that to stabilize this year, however. But the export market, hauling coal to the ships, could drop off.
Five years ago, CSX was hauling 20 million tons of export coal a year. Last year, that figure had grown to 44 million tons, but it's predicted to drop this year.
There's an over-supply in the world and growth in
Ward pointed to other areas where CSX is growing to make up for the loss of coal shipments.
In 2012, Ward said, CSX hauled 9,000 loads of crude oil from the Bakken shale formation in
Agriculture, which consists mostly of hauling grain from the Midwest to feed pigs and chickens in the Southeast, was up 16 percent. But that's in part because 2012 was a poor year due to drought.
Forest shipments, primarily wood for houses, was up 7 percent and that's expected to continue to increase, Ward said.
Most of the company's strategic capital, Ward said, is being spent on building and expanding its intermodal facilities, which involves containers carried by trucks and trains.
CSX's stock took a hit Thursday after it announced earnings Wednesday that fell short of predictions. After closing at
"I was pretty pleased with the quarter, though obviously