Tuesday, February 04, 2014

BNSF 2014 capex: $5 billion

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
BNSF Railway on Feb. 4 announced a new single-year record capital commitment plan of $5 billion for 2014, approximately a $1 billion increase over its 2013 actual capital spend of $4 billion.

The largest component of the capital plan is $2.3 billion for the railroad’s core network and related assets. In addition, approximately $1.6 billion has been allocated for locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions; $200 million for continued installation of positive train control (PTC); approximately $900 million for terminal, line, and intermodal expansion and efficiency projects; and more than $900 million for expansion and maintenance in BNSF’s Northern Corridor.

“BNSF handled more than 50% of the volume increases for the rail industry in 2013,” the railroad said. “The growth was led by an 8% increase in domestic intermodal units, an 11% increase in Industrial Products volumes led by crude-by-rail (CBR) related traffic, a 3% increase in coal volumes, and a fourth quarter surge in agricultural products. This growth is on top of a 2012 total volume base of more than 9.6 million units. Much of the capacity expansion in the 2014 capital plan is for infrastructure investment in our Northern Corridor to put the company in position to meet all customer service expectations, including Amtrak.”

In recent months, the ontime performance of Amtrak’s Empire Builder and other passenger rail services has been impacted by huge increases in CBR traffic.

“BNSF’s expansion and efficiency projects will be primarily focused on line capacity improvements to accommodate growth in agricultural products, intermodal, automotive, and industrial products volumes related to crude oil production, and other terminal improvements to enhance productivity and velocity,” said President and CEO Carl Ice. “Our capital plan continues to focus on improving our ability to meet our customers’ service expectations, increasing our capacity where there is growth, and strengthening our railroad to help ensure it remains the safest means of ground transportation for freight. Our capital investments are an integral part of making sure our network is well prepared for the demand for freight rail service in the U.S. and helps ensure the continued integrity and reliability of our network.”