Kansas City Southern boosted first-quarter profit 19.6 percent year-over-year to $74.9 million, as strong intermodal and automotive growth pushed the railroad to record revenue and volume.
The railroad boosted revenue 12 percent year-over-year to $547.5 million, as overall carload volume in the first rose 7 percent from the same period a year ago. Intermodal revenue jumped 26 percent on an 18 percent traffic increase, while automotive revenue rose 21 percent on a 14.4 percent traffic increase.
The average revenue per carload and intermodal unit rose 4.9 percent to $1,041, while the average revenue per intermodal unit increased 5.1 percent to $327. The increase in carload and intermodal revenue, which is also driven by increased efficiencies, illustrates that the smallest of the major U.S. railroads has pricing power like its larger counterparts.
“The company attained record first quarter volumes, revenues and operating ratio. The first quarter is typically the most challenging in terms of operations and volumes. For us to have an operating ratio of 71.2 percent in the quarter is a good start to the year,” said KCS President and CEO David Starling.
The company’s operating ratio improved 2.6 percentage points, and operating income jumped 23 percent year-over-year to $158 million in the same period.