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Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF to bounce back with economy in the second half, Rose says


Several business segments should improve in the year's second half for Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

In his quarterly call to analysts July 24, BNSF Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Rose said industrial and consumer-market numbers are picking up, according to a prepared statement.

During the second quarter, international intermodal business rose 10 percent; truckload, 14 percent; and chemicals, 12 percent. Quarterly carloads declined for coal and agricultural products, but those sectors are expected to rebound in the third and fourth quarters.

BNSF also was able to increase productivity during the quarter: "Driving productivity increases have been a 2 percent improvement in gross-ton-miles per employee year over year and maintenance gangs working extremely efficiently," said Carl Ice, BNSF executive vice president and chief operations officer.

Although the Class I made some headway in the quarter, analysts were concerned about BNSF's flat stock price.

Rose countered that the railroad is holding its own when compared with its peers and the Standard & Poors 500, offering the comparison that if a person invested a dollar in one of the following stocks since BNSF's 1995 merger, as of July 23 it would have been worth: 94 cents if invested in BNSF; 75 cents (Union Pacific Railroad); $2.13 (Canadian National Railway Co.); 89 cents (Canadian Pacific Railway); 63 cents (CSX Transportation); 59 cents (Norfolk Southern Corp.); and $1.16 (S&P 500).

Rose also stated that the economy is bouncing back and that BNSF has "a little wind in our sails" going forward.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 7/26/2002