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BNSF Railway Co.'s third-quarter 2015 revenue fell 5 percent to $5.6 billion, but the Class I still posted a 12 percent increase in net income compared with third-quarter 2014, the railroad's parent Berkshire Hathaway reported late last week.For the quarter ending Sept. 30, BNSF's net income was $1.16 billion, up from $1.04 billion for the same period a year ago. For the first nine months of 2015, BNSF profits soared 18 percent to $3.16 billion. Revenue for the nine-month period declined 3 percent to $16.6 billion.Operating income rose 12 percent to $2 billion for the quarter, and climbed 17 percent to $5.75 billion for the nine-month period compared with a year ago. The Class I's operating ratio fell to 61.8 percent from 67.6 percent during the three month period, and dropped to 64.5 percent from 70.6 percent for the nine-month period.BNSF's revenue per unit decreased 8 percent for the quarter and 5 percent for the first nine months as lower fuel surcharges were partially offset by a higher rate per car/unit.The railroad's volume highlights for the third-quarter and nine months compared with the same periods in 2014 included:• Consumer product volumes rose 5 percent during the quarter and 1 percent for the nine months due to increased demand.• Industrial product volumes fell 9 percent for the quarter and 4 percent for the nine months as a result of lower crude-oil prices and petroleum products, as well as a lower demand for frac sand. Also, there was lower demand for steel products.• Coal volumes rose 5 percent for the quarter and 4 percent for the nine months due to higher demand.• Agricultural products were up 11 percent for the quarter and 7 percent for the nine months due to an increase in domestic grain shipments.Operating expenses fell 13 percent to $3.5 billion for the quarter, and 11 percent to $10.8 billion for the nine-month period compared with 2015. The company attributed the decline in expenses in part to increased costs in 2014 related to severe weather and service-related challenges. Lower fuel costs and depreciation expenses also attributed to the decline in operating expenses.
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