Tuesday, May 11, 2010

BNSF leads large railroads in rate of return

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A report posted Tuesday by the Surface Transportation Board shows that BNSF led the “Big Four” Class I railroads in rate of return for the 12 months ended March 1.

bnsf.jpgBNSF posted an ROI of 9.49% for the period, down from 10.01% for the prior 12 months. UP had an ROI of 8.65%, down from 9.77%. Norfolk Southern’s return was 8.58%, compared with 12.27% at the same time last year; and CSX Transportation reported an ROI of 7.79%, down from 8.82%.

The CP/Soo Line reported the largest ROI for the 12 months ended March 31 and the only increase: 12.86% vs. 12.31%.

Kansas City Southern came in with a 6.778% return, down from 7.49%. CN/Grand Trunk Western’s latest ROI was 6.66%, down from8.37%.

The rate of return for all Class I railroads for the latest 12 months was 8.57%, down from 9.9%. That was a 14% decline, right in line with the 14% drop in operating revenue for the period.

The 12 months covered by the STB’s latest report ended with this year's first quarter, and revenue and earnings for that period reflected the recent upturn in the economy. While the STB did not give ROIs for the quarter, it did show revenue ton-miles up 5.4%, operating revenue up 13.1%, net railway operating income up 28.5%, and net income up 39%.