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Union Pacific Railroad Decreases in coal demand hampered UP’s 2Q earnings, revenue

Rail News: Union Pacific Railroad
Decreases in coal demand hampered UP’s 2Q earnings, revenue

By Daniel Niepow, Associate Editor

A decrease in demand and overall volumes in several sectors, including a sharp decline in coal traffic, offset the positive impact of core pricing gains in the second quarter,Union Pacific Railroad reported this morning.

The railroad’s net income for the quarter fell 3 percent to $1.2 billion versus $1.3 billion in the same quarter last year. Earnings per diluted share decreased to $1.38 from $1.43 in the year-ago period.

Volume fell 6 percent to 2.3 million units as coal traffic plunged 26 percent to 309,000 units, industrial products carloads tumbled 13 percent to 306,000 units and agricultural products volume declined 7 percent to 225,000 units.

Despite several headwinds, the railroad “made meaningful progress by right sizing our resources to current volumes, and I am encouraged to report that we made these improvements while posting strong safety performance,” UP President and Chief Executive Officer Lance Fritz said in a statement.

The railroad’s operating ratio of 64.1 rose 0.6 points while operating revenue decreased 10 percent to $5.4 billion. By commodity group, coal revenue plummeted 31 percent to $679 million, industrial products revenue fell 14 percent to $970 million, ag products revenue declined 7 percent to $867 million, intermodal revenue decreased 5 percent to $1 billion, chemicals revenue slipped 1 percent to $905 million and automotive revenue inched up 1 percent to $560 million.

Both operating expenses and income fell during the quarter: the latter decreased 11 percent to $1.95 billion, while the former decreased 9 percent to $3.48 billion.

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