Photo: CSX Facebook page

Photo: CSX Facebook page

CSX Corp. on Tuesday announced record fourth-quarter 2014 net earnings of $491 million, a 15% increase from $426 million for the same period last year, due in part to highway-to-rail freight conversions.

The Florida-based railroad also generated record fourth quarter earnings per share of 49 cents, up 17% from 42 per share in 2013.

“CSX is capturing broad-based market strength, completing strategic infrastructure projects and adding resources to further improve service performance and leverage growth opportunities,” said Michael J. Ward, chairman, president and CEO. “We expect to continue growing our intermodal and merchandise businesses faster than the economy, pricing above inflation, and driving efficient asset utilization.”

Fourth-quarter overall revenue increased 5% to $3.2 billion, with strength across merchandise, intermodal and coal. Operating income increased 11% to $901 million.

For the full-year, CSX produced new all-time records for revenue of $12.7 billion, operating income of $3.6 billion, net earnings of $1.9 billion and earnings per share of $1.92.

In 2014 CSX moved 2.7 million intermodal units, an increase of 6% from the year before while intermodal revenue increased 5% during the same time to $1.79 billion. Revenue per intermodal unit edged down just slightly.

“While revenue per unit was down slightly reflecting lower fuel recoveries, same store sales pricing increased as gains in merchandise and intermodal were partially offset by a decline in coal,” CSX said in a release.

For the year, domestic intermodal volume increased 9% as a result of growth with existing customers and continued success with highway-to-rail conversions, according to the company, while international intermodal volume increased 1% due to growth in global container shipments moving to inland destinations.

In terms of ton-miles, intermodal shipments improved 8% for the year compared to 2013.