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Norfolk Southern funds nearly $500 million in sustainability projects

Initiatives include DC-to-AC locomotive power conversions, intermodal facility improvements

Norfolk Southern funded $496 mllion toward sustainability-related projects in 2021. (Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves)

Norfolk Southern funded nearly $500 million for sustainability-related projects in 2021 through the issuance of its green bonds.

The projects, some directly related to sustainability and some that include sustainability as an end result, include:

  • $275.6 million to fund DC-to-AC locomotive power conversions, which NS says improves fuel efficiency by up to 25%. It also reduces carbon emissions from existing locomotives by about 200 tons, when compared to producing a new AC locomotive.
  • $99.5 million in intermodal facility improvements aimed at converting volumes from truck to rail. 
  • $10.9 million to further locomotive fuel management initiatives, which will support NS’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions intensity by 42% by 2034 and help NS meet its science-based target.
  • $3.4 million to build upon company initiatives to restore and protect vital stream and wetland ecosystems.

The $496 million in funding for these projects came from NS’ (NYSE: NSC) issuance of green bonds in 2021. An overview of the funded projects is available here.

“Sustainability is in our company’s DNA. Our industry-first green bond offering funds projects that align our efforts to reduce carbon emissions and advance sustainable business practices, all while delivering long-term value for our customers, communities and shareholders,” said NS CFO Mark George.

The publication of the report follows other recent sustainability-related initiatives at NS. In March, the railroad revamped a carbon calculator that helps customers and shippers gauge the carbon emissions their shipments produced, and in December 2021, the company said it would be partnering with railcar manufacturer Greenbrier (NYSE: GBX) and U.S. Steel to work on producing a more sustainable gondola car in anticipation of the eventual retirement of the existing fleet.

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.