The nation's third-largest railroad, CSX Corp., expects shipments to improve at a faster clip than the pace of overall economic recovery this year.
It's bringing back locomotives sidelined when the economy was bleak, calling more furloughed employees back to work and ramping up hiring in some areas where business is best.
CSX will also take steps to improve efficiency for merchandise shipments, a category that includes agricultural, industrial and construction products. The segment's hauls were hurt most by bad weather in the first three months of the year.
The railroad expects prices and volume in the category, along with its other main segments _ coal and intermodal _ to improve this year. CSX expects the overall U.S. economy to continue to steadily improve this year and next.
The company made the predictions Wednesday in a conference call that followed the release of its first-quarter results late Tuesday. The Jacksonville, Fla., railroad's earnings jumped 30 percent as higher shipping prices and stronger demand offset rising fuel costs, which were up 42 percent from a year ago..
CSX is the first major U.S. railroad to report first-quarter results. Union Pacific Corp., the country's largest railroad, reports on Wednesday. CSX's eastern rival Norfolk Southern Corp. is scheduled to release results next week.