Freight gains boost BNSF

Freight gains boost BNSF

Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp., the second-largest U.S. railroad, reported on Tuesday a 12 percent increase in quarterly profit as cargo volumes picked up in an expanding economy.

The Fort Worth, Texas, transport group said fourth-quarter profit was $226 million. A year earlier, BNSF earned $202 million.

Freight revenue rose 8 percent, or $185 million, to $2.46 billion from $2.27 billion in 2002's fourth quarter, the company said in a news release.

"Our revenue growth was again driven by strong volumes in our Consumer Products, Industrial Products and Agricultural businesses," Chief Executive Matthew Rose said. "For 2004, we anticipate continued revenue growth as both the global and U.S. economies continue to expand."

Fuel expense added to an 8 percent rise in operating expenses. Higher volumes also lifted expenses, the company said.