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Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad

UP boosts bottom line in 2017


Union Pacific Corp. today reported fourth-quarter 2017 adjusted net income rose 5 percent to $1.2 billion, or $1.53 per diluted share, compared with $1.14 billion, or $1.39 per share, for the same period a year ago.

Including the impact of the recently passed federal corporate tax reform, UP posted net income of $7.3 billion, or $9.25 per diluted share for Q4 2017, according to a UP press release.

UP's operating revenue in the quarter increased 5 percent to $5.5 billion compared with Q4 2016. Fourth-quarter business volumes — as measured by total revenue carloads — climbed 1 percent compared with a year ago results. Volume increases in industry products more than offset declines in agricultural products, automotive and coal.

Intermodal volume was flat in the quarter compared with the same period in 2016.

Quarterly freight revenue rose 5 percent compared with Q4 2016. UP attributed the increase to increased fuel surcharge revenue, core pricing gains, positive volume and positive mix of traffic.

UP reported Q4 2017 freight revenue increases in industrial products (28 percent), chemicals (7 percent) and intermodal (4 percent) compared with Q4 2016.

Quarterly freight revenue compared with a year ago dipped in automotive (1 percent), agricultural products (4 percent) and coal (5 percent).

UP posted a Q4 2017 operating ratio of 62.6 percent, up 0.6 points compared with the operating ratio in Q4 2016.

For the full year 2017, UP reported adjusted net income of $4.6 billion, or $5.79 per diluted share, compared with $4.2 billion, or $5.07 per diluted share, in 2016.

Including the impact of the federal corporate tax reform, UP's 2017 net income was $10.7 billion, or $13.36 per diluted share.

Operating revenue totaled $21.2 billion as compared to $19.9 billion in 2016. Adjusted operating income totaled $7.8 billion, an 8 percent increase compared to 2016.

In addition, UP reported:
• Freight revenue totaled $19.8 billion, up 7 percent when compared to 2016.
• Carloadings grew 2 percent over 2016, with increases in industrial products and coal business groups.
• Its adjusted operating ratio improved to 63 percent, 0.5 points lower than in 2016.
• Train speed, as reported to the Association of American Railroads, was 25.4 mph, 5 percent lower compared to the full year 2016.
• Capital expenditures for 2017 totaled $3.1 billion.

"I am pleased with the results the men and women of Union Pacific achieved by focusing on our six-track value strategy," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Lance Fritz. "While we have room for improvement in many areas, that doesn't include the dedication and hard work of our employees."

As for 2018, the company is optimistic the economy will favor a number of UP's market segments.

"Increased unit volume, combined with inflation plus core pricing and G55-0 productivity initiatives, should result in another year of revenue growth and improved margins," said Fritz. "We will continue to execute our value-track strategy to benefit our employees, partner with the communities we serve, provide our customers an excellent experience, and generate strong returns for our shareholders."

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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