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Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF drove up revenue and income, drove down operating ratio in 4Q

BNSF Railway Co. in fourth-quarter 2013 increased revenue 6 percent to $5.8 billion and reduced its operating ratio 2.7 points to 66.6 compared with fourth-quarter 2012 figures, according to a quarterly performance summary report released by the Class I yesterday.

In addition, operating income climbed 15 percent to $1.9 billion, net income jumped 20 percent to $1.1 billion and volume rose 6 percent to 2.6 million units. Operating expenses ratcheted up 2 percent to $3.9 billion, primarily due to higher compensation and benefits costs.

The performance summary shows the following revenue outcomes by business sector: consumer products, up 7 percent to $1.8 billion; industrial products, up 11 percent to $1.5 billion; coal, flat at $1.2 billion; and agricultural products, up 3 percent to $1 billion.

The positive financial results reflect continued strength in the railroad's crude oil and domestic intermodal businesses, BNSF officials said in the summary, adding that the gains helped offset weak export grain business that was impacted by the U.S drought and stiffer global competition.

For the full year, BNSF's revenue rose 6 percent to $22 billion, operating income climbed 11 percent to $6.7 billion, net income jumped 12 percent to $3.8 billion, volume increased 4 percent to 10.1 million units and operating ratio improved 1.6 points to 69.1 compared with 2012 figures. Operating expenses increased 4 percent to $15.3 billion.

In terms of 2013 revenue by business sector, consumer products rose 6 percent to $7 billion, industrial products climbed 14 percent to $5.7 billion, coal increased 3 percent to $5 billion and agricultural products fell 4 percent to $3.6 billion.

Consumer products business benefitted from additional highway conversions, new carrier conversions and higher export demand; industrial products business was boosted by increased petroleum products volume — especially crude unit-train loadings; and coal business was positively impacted by higher natural gas prices and reduced utility stockpiles, BNSF officials said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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