WASHINGTON – The Conrail acquisition is a continuing success and the Surface Transportation Board’s (STB) five-year oversight has achieved its goals, Michael Ward, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of CSX Corporation, said May 3.
“We believe the 5-year oversight period that followed the transaction has achieved its objectives. We are now at a time when additional oversight is unnecessary – and the ordinary authority of the STB is more than sufficient to ensure that the public good continues to be served,” Ward said.
“When you look at what has been achieved over the past five years – on behalf of our customers, short line partners, employees, and the public, as well as our own long-term growth – and then compare it to the objectives, it is clear the transaction has been a success,” Ward added.
The CSX chairman noted that the transaction’s objectives included extending market reach into the Northeast and in the Midwest, growing traffic and replacing exclusivity with competition; providing customers with two balanced rail competitors in the East; improving efficiency, making significant capital investments to improve the company’s infrastructure, and shifting traffic from other modes to the railroad.
“By any one of those measures, the transaction was a positive. By all of those measures, taken together, it’s a success that strengthens transportation in the United States,” Ward said.
Ward told the STB that traffic at CSX’s intermodal unit is up 11% since 1999 and that the company’s almost $800 million capital investment in transaction-related projects has created new opportunities for freight shippers and opened new markets to rail service.
As examples, he noted that the company’s municipal solid waste business has gone from nearly non-existent four years ago to a $100 million-plus business today – primarily by moving waste from the Northeast to underutilized landfills in the southern U.S. Ward, who led CSXT’s Conrail integration effort, also discussed the flexibility customers can enjoy using the company’s TRANSFLO subsidiary, the ExpressLane service that moves perishable goods from the west into eastern consumption markets, and successes in shifting traffic to rail from truck and barge.
In June 1999, CSXT and Norfolk Southern began operating their portions of the former Conrail system.