While revenues and profits were up in 2004 for almost every segment of the railroad industry, intermodal demand proved to be a leading growth area, especially at year’s end.
“We topped $7 billion in revenue for the first time in our history, and all of our major business sectors set revenue records,” said David Goode, chairman & CEO of Norfolk, VA-based Norfolk Southern Corp. (NS). He said intermodal set volume records at NS for the quarter and year, recording the biggest revenue increases compared with 2003– 32% to $441 million for the fourth quarter, and 24% to $1.5 billion for 2004.
Ft. Worth, TX-based Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (BNSF) said its fourth-quarter 2004 freight revenues increased 19% to an all-time quarterly record of $2.92 billion compared with the same quarter in 2003. Its consumer products revenues increased 22% to $1.18 billion as a result of double-digit increases in the international intermodal, truckload, and perishables sectors.
Jacksonville, FL-based CSX Corp., saw its surface transportation operating income, including rail and intermodal operations, soar 32% to $315 million in the fourth quarter of 2004 compared to 2003.
Montreal, Canada-based railway giant CN saw intermodal business grow 12% in the fourth quarter of 2004 versus 2003.
Omaha, NE-based Union Pacific (UP) said revenues from its intermodal business went up 11% for the fourth quarter, just behind industrial products (17%), agricultural shipments (12%) and equal to chemicals (11%).
“High fuel prices and increased operating costs continued to impact earnings,” said Dick Davidson, UP’s chairman & CEO. “However, we continue to be encouraged by the unprecedented demand we have experienced over the past year. In 2004, our operating revenue grew to a record $12.2 billion -- a 6% increase over 2003 and our first year over the $12 billion mark. We believe this trend will continue as demand for transportation service exceeds the available supply.”