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Rail News: BNSF Railway

Financials: BNSF ends 2003 on a high note


Driven by increasing agricultural- and industrial-product revenue — and record consumer-product revenue — Burlington Northern Santa Fe's fourth-quarter freight revenue rose 8 percent to a record $2.46 billion compared with the same 2002 period.

On Jan. 27, the Class I reported other quarterly successes: operating income increased 9 percent to $477 million, earnings per share rose 13 percent to 61 cents and the railroad's operating ratio improved 0.2 points to 80.6 compared with fourth-quarter 2002.

However, BNSF's quarterly operating expenses increased 8 percent to $2.02 billion because of a 9 percent rise in units handled and escalating fuel prices.

For all of 2003, BNSF reported record freight revenue of $9.29 billion — a 5 percent increase compared with 2002 — which included fuel surcharges of $110 million compared with $26 million the prior year.

"For 2004, we anticipate continued revenue growth as both the global and U.S. economies continue to expand," said BNSF Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew Rose in a prepared statement.

But 2003 operating expenses of $7.75 billion rose 6 percent primarily because of a 29 percent rise in fuel expenses and 6 percent increase in units handled. And the railroad's annual operating ratio worsened 0.8 points to 82.1 compared with 2002.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 1/27/2004