America’s freight railroads are investing in facilities, technology and programs to meet the country’s growing consumption and transportation needs, CSX chairman, president and chief executive officer Michael Ward told an audience of more than 200 business and policy leaders at a Harvard Business School (HBS) panel.
The panel, “What Moves U.S.,” is part of the “America on the Move: Transportation and Infrastructure for the 21st Century” National Summit hosted this week at HBS. The panel included leaders from the public and private transportation sectors who explored issues related to balanced regulations; opportunities for connectivity, safety and sustainability; and the impact of transportation, particularly benefits and challenges for intermodal, as the global supply chain evolves.
“CSX is up to the challenge of meeting our customers’ increasingly high expectations while creating jobs, rebuilding transportation infrastructure, and supporting global competitiveness for American businesses,” Ward said. “The nation’s freight railroads have literally transformed in the nearly 35 years since they were partially deregulated, but there’s still much to do to fully realize the economic and environmental advantages of freight rail transportation.”
To continue leveraging those advantages, CSX plans $2.3 billion in capital investments in 2014 as the company builds for long-term growth and continues to deliver value for customers and investors. CSX has invested more than $14 billion since 2005 in making its network the safest and most efficient means of transportation in the east. Long term, CSX plans to invest 16 to 17 percent of revenue into the business each year – a combination of investments in core infrastructure and assets with strategic capital to support profitable growth – plus an overlay for the positive train control system.
CSX investment in 2014 and beyond will support the company’s intermodal business, a major growth driver based on the environmental and efficiency benefits of connecting ports with inland consumption centers while taking long-haul trucks off of America’s congested highways. It is estimated that approximately 9 million truckloads in the Eastern U.S. are candidates for conversion to intermodal rail service. Priorities for CSX in 2014 include the construction of new facilities in Florida and Canada, and expansions of other facilities across the network.
Today, more than 90 percent of CSX intermodal traffic travels over double-stack cleared routes, which can carry double the freight on the same number of rail cars. That number will rise to the mid-90s in the next several years when CSX completes the National Gateway, the company’s public-private partnership designed to increase the flow of freight between mid-Atlantic ports and Midwestern consumption centers via double-stack intermodal service.