Canadian National Railway’s profit in the fourth quarter rose 17.7 percent year-over-year to $584 million, as revenue jumped 12 percent to a record $2.3 billion on stronger pricing and freight traffic.
The largest railroad in Canada and owner of large track segments in the U.S. saw carloadings increase 4 percent and revenue per ton-miles rise 9 percent. The company’s operating ration increased 1.3 percentage points to 64.7 percent in the same period.
CN is the latest Class I railroad to report robust revenue and profit gains for last year on moderate increases in volume, a sign of strong pricing. Union Pacific, CSX Transportation, Norfolk Southern and Kansas City Southern all used pricing power to drive down their operating ratios and expand profits in 2011.
“Although the economic recovery may be affected by global uncertainty, CN believes the gradual improvement in the North American economy will continue in 2012," said President and CEO Claude Mongeau.
The company’s full-year profit rose 16.8 percent year-over-year to $2.4 billion on a 9 percent revenue gain to $8.9 billion. CN’s operation ratio in 2011 inched down to 63.5 percent, from 63.6 percent in 2010. The company’s board of directors approved a 15 percent increase in CN’s 2012 quarterly common-shared dividend.