BNSF Railway’s profit rose 14.4 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier to $690 million, as traffic grew only about 3 percent but per-unit receipts swelled 10.6 percent.
BNSF’s top-line sales growth outpaced the net income, as revenue gained 17 percent to $4.8 billion, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The results left its profit at 14.4 percent of revenue, down slightly from a 14.7 percent profit margin in the 2010 quarter.
Operating expenses jumped 19 percent to $3.6 billion. That railroad has been one of the hardest hit in the quarter by heavy flooding along the Missouri River, and from the Souris River that swamped Minot, N.D.
That has forced BNSF to rebuild and raise tracks in numerous spots in the Midwest, and erect new rail bridges. The carrier also used more locomotive fuel both to haul more freight and because weather disruptions reduced its efficiency.
Separately, BNSF in its weekly traffic reports to the Association of American Railroads said its overall shipment volume grew 3.3 percent in the quarter from the 2010 period. That reflected a 10.2 percent spike in combined intermodal container and trailer hauls, while bulk and equipment carloads shrank by 2.5 percent.
Reflecting the strong pricing power all major railroads have been showing, BNSF’s average per-shipment revenue gained 10.6 percent to $1,964.
BNSF no longer has its own common stock since Berkshire Hathaway acquired it in February 2010, and so does not issue dividends to the public. However, the railroad said it pay Berkshire a $750 million distribution this month.
-- Contact John D. Boyd at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter www.twitter.com/jboydjoc