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Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad

Four all-time-best financial marks highlight UP's strong second quarter


The diversity of its commodity groups and a big post-winter business boost helped Union Pacific Corp. set four all-time quarterly financial records in the second quarter.

The new high-water marks include operating revenue, which climbed 10 percent to $6 billion; operating income, which jumped 17 percent to $2.2 billion; diluted earnings, which ballooned 21 percent to $1.43 per share; and the operating ratio (OR), which improved 2.2 points to 63.5 compared with second-quarter 2013 results. The OR bested the previous quarterly record set in third-quarter 2013 by 1.3 points.

In addition, carloads increased 8 percent to 2.4 million units and freight revenue climbed 10 percent to $5.7 billion, driven by volume growth and core pricing gains.

"Union Pacific achieved record quarterly financial results, leveraging the strengths of our diverse franchise to handle strong demand in the face of challenging operating conditions," said UP Chief Executive Officer Jack Koraleski in a press release.

By commodity group, agricultural products revenue shot up 19 percent to $934 million and volume soared 16 percent to 243,000 units; intermodal revenue jumped 16 percent to $1.1 billion and volume ballooned 12 percent to 924,000 units; industrial products revenue climbed 16 percent to $1.1 billion and volume jumped 12 percent to 356,000 units; chemicals revenue rose 3 percent to $913 million but volume declined 1 percent to 283,000 units; automotive revenue increased 2 percent to $545 million and volume rose 6 percent to 208,000 units; and coal revenue ratcheted up 1 percent to $989 million and volume inched up 1 percent to 417,000 units.

Operating expenses rose 6 percent to $3.8 billion primarily because purchased services and material costs climbed 9 percent to $636 million, fuel costs increased 7 percent to $923 million, and compensation and benefits costs rose 5 percent to $1.2 billion. Headcount in the quarter increased 1 percent year over year to 47,052.

Looking ahead, UP leaders are optimistic about business prospects in the second half.

"As always, we are closely monitoring the economic landscape, along with the major drivers across all of our business segments, including the potential impact of weather on grain and coal," said Koraleski. "As the economy gradually continues to improve, the power of our diverse franchise provides business growth opportunities in all of our commodity groups."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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