Norfolk Southern Jan 25 reported a 31 percent increase in fourth quarter profit (versus fourth quarter 2009) and a 45 percent increase in calendar-year 2010 profit.
NS also reported a 5 percentage point improvement in its 2010 operating ratio, which declined to 71.9 percent. Operating ratio — a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue — is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability.
Additionally, NS increased its quarterly dividend on common stock Jan 25 by 11 percent — the second NS dividend increase of 2010.
“We have every reason to believe that 2011 will be an even stronger year for us,” said NS CEO Wick Moorman.
The company also said FedEx has selected NS as its primary eastern rail to carry FedEx intermodal (trailers and containers on flat cars).
NS operates 21,000 route miles in 22 states and the District of Columbia.