BNSF Railway’s profit of $488 million in the recession-struck third quarter was down 29.8 percent from a year earlier, as revenue fell 26.7 percent to $3.49 billion.
Yet the carrier also cut 27 percent out of its expenses, so that its net income at 14 percent of revenue was only slightly less than a 14.6 percent it earned in the 2008 period.
“During the recession, BNSF has demonstrated significant operating leverage through ongoing dedication to controlling costs and productivity improvements,” said Matthew K. Rose, the chairman, president and CEO. That approach, along with market opportunities, “places BNSF in a strong position when the economy recovers,” he said.
Freight volume in units handled fell 17.5 percent, but per-unit receipts declined only 12 percent as BNSF and other railroads continued to firm up their pricing and idled equipment capacity to match demand. The company’s average work force in this year’s July-September quarter was 9 percent smaller than in 2008.
BNSF ended the quarter with cash and equivalents on hand of $1.16 billion, up from $633 million at the end of December.
Contact John D. Boyd at firstname.lastname@example.org.