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Rail News: BNSF Railway

Third-quarter results: BNSF improves operating ratio more than 20 points, sets revenue record


During the third quarter, BNSF Railway Co. increased traffic volume 4 percent to 2.6 million carloads — the railroad’s 14th-straight quarter of year-over-year traffic gains. The carload boost helped the Class I register record quarterly revenue of $3.2 billion, an 18 percent rise compared with third-quarter 2005.

Revenue — which included fuel surcharges of $296 million compared with $95 million in third-quarter 2004 — was driven by double-digit gains in agricultural, industrial and consumer products revenue, and a 6 percent rise in coal revenue.

BNSF also earned record quarterly operating income of $778 million and improved its operating ratio a whopping 20.5 points to 75.8 compared with the same 2004 period.

In addition, quarterly operating expenses of $2.5 billion fell 5.4 percent compared with third-quarter 2004, which included a $465 million pre-tax charge. Expenses reflect a 5 percent increase in gross ton-miles and 45 percent rise in fuel prices after factoring hedges.

“Demand for rail transportation continues to outpace the rest of the economy,” said BNSF Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Rose in a prepared statement. “BNSF continues to operate a fluid rail network.”

During 2005’s first nine months, BNSF’s revenue totaled $9.2 billion, a 17 percent increase compared with the same 2004 period. Net income and operating income more than doubled to $1.1 billion and $2.1 billion, respectively, and the railroad’s operating ratio improved 10.2 points to 76.8. However, operating expenses rose 5.4 percent to $7.3 billion compared with the same 2004 period.

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More News from 10/25/2005