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Rail News: BNSF Railway

BNSF's Q2 revenue off on lower volume, fuel surcharges

BNSF Railway Co.'s net income fell 20 percent to $772 million and total revenue declined 15 percent to $4.6 billion in the second quarter compared with year-ago results, according to Berkshire Hathaway, the Class I's parent company.

BNSF's operating income in the quarter dropped 16 percent to nearly $1.5 billion, while operating expenses declined 14 percent to about $3 billion compared with second-quarter 2015 results.

Operating expenses were down as a result of lower volume, lower fuel prices and productivity improvements.

The railroad's operating ratio remained about the same at 66.7 percent compared with 66.3 percent a year ago.

The decline in BNSF's total revenue was the result of a 9 percent decline in unit volume as well as the impact of lower fuel prices on fuel surcharge revenue, according to Berkshire Hathaway's financial statement for the quarter.

By business unit, coal revenue plunged 42 percent to $655 million in the quarter compared with a year ago. Coal volumes fell 34 percent due to lower demand driven by reduced energy consumption and low natural gas prices.

Among other second-quarter 2016 highlights:
• Consumer product volumes were down 3 percent compared with Q2 2015 results due to lower international intermodal volume from the impact of soft economic activity and inflated retail inventories. The decline was partially offset by increased automotive volume. Consumer revenue decreased 5 percent to $1.6 billion for the quarter.
• Industrial products volume fell 5 percent compared with the same period last year primarily due to lower volume of petroleum products and commodities that support drilling. That lower volume reflects the impact of pipeline activity on U.S. crude-by-rail traffic. Industrial revenue declined 14 percent to $1.2 billion for the quarter.
• Agricultural products volumes increased 6 percent for the quarter due to higher grain exports. Agricultural revenue dipped 2 percent to $910 million, however.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

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