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Norfolk Southern Corp NSC

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Morningstar’s Analysis

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Economic Moat




Reiterating Railroads' Wide Moat Ratings Following a Fresh Look at Competitive Landscape

Matthew Young, CFA Equity Analyst

Analyst Note

| Matthew Young, CFA |

We took a fresh, in-depth look at the competitive positioning of the North American Class I railroads we cover: Union Pacific, CSX, Norfolk Southern, Kansas City Southern, Canadian National, and Canadian Pacific. We reiterate our view that each railroad enjoys a wide economic moat rooted in cost advantages and efficient scale. Core pricing and margin resilience in past freight recessions and in the face of substantial coal volume losses over the past decade-plus is a testament to their robust competitive positioning.

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Company Profile

Business Description

Class-I railroad Norfolk Southern operates in the Eastern United States. On roughly 21,000 miles of track, the firm hauls shipments of coal (15% of 2019 revenue), intermodal traffic (25%), and a diverse mix of automobile, agriculture, metal, chemical, and forest products.

Three Commercial Place
Norfolk, VA, 23510-2191
T +1 757 629-2680
Sector Industrials
Industry Railroads
Most Recent Earnings Mar 31, 2020
Fiscal Year End Dec 31, 2019
Stock Type High Yield
Employees 24,587