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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Jul. 22, 202108:32 AM EST

CSX, Landstar report second quarter earnings

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Transportation companies benefited from higher volumes due to the economic recovery.
by: Mark Basch Contributing Writer

CSX Corp. reported better-than-expected second quarter earnings and said in a July 21 conference call it is continuing plans to add workers to its rail network in the second half of the year.

Jacksonville-based trucking company Landstar System Inc. also reported second-quarter earnings July 21 that beat analysts’ forecasts as economic activity rebounds from last year’s pandemic-related shutdowns.

Jacksonville-based CSX said revenue jumped 33% from the second quarter of 2020 to $2.99 billion.

The railroad company’s earnings of 52 cents a share included 12 cents in gains from the sale of certain property rights to the Commonwealth of Virginia for passenger rail operations.

Excluding that gain, earnings nearly doubled from 22 cents a share in the second quarter of 2020. The results also beat the consensus forecast of 37 cents by analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.

In CSX’s conference call with analysts, CEO James Foote said the results show how well the company has rebounded from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we enter the second half of the year, our focus is squarely on continuing this growth,” he said.

“We have kept our yards and terminals open and freight moving throughout the recovery and we will continue taking the necessary steps to add resources and increase fluidity in order to help customers meet their own growth targets this year despite the ongoing supply chain disruptions.”

Foote said CSX is working to increase its headcount to support the business growth.

Total employment in CSX’s operations throughout the eastern half of the U.S. was 19,181 as of June 30, about the same as the end of the first quarter. But it was 325 employees higher than June 20, 2020.

“Over the past several months we have increased the size and number of our new conductor classes and then also enacted new programs to improve availability of existing employees to ensure that we have resources in place to capture the rising demand and serve our customers well,” Foote said.

He said CSX projects revenue to grow by a double-digit percentage this year.

The revenue projections do not include the impact of its recent acquisition of trucking company Quality Carriers Inc. Foote said that company is expected to increase the company’s revenue by 6% a year.

Landstar had a record high quarter with earnings of $2.40 a share and revenue of $1.571 billion.

The company said comparisons with the second quarter of 2020 are irrelevant because of the pandemic last year, but it pointed to a 12% increase in truckload volume from the first quarter, when it earned $2.01 a share.

“We attribute this strong demand to an ongoing, broad-based economic recovery, with particular strength in consumer spending, that has been a big driver of freight activity,” CEO Jim Gattoni said in a news release.

The company beat the Zacks consensus forecast of $2.34 a share for the second quarter.

Landstar is projecting third-quarter earnings of $2.20 to $2.30 a share on revenue of $1.55 billion to $1.6 billion.

Gattoni said the company expects “continued solid performance on the expectation that broad-based economic strength will support a strong freight environment for the near future.”

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