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Railroads chug ahead on intermodal power

While revenues and profits were up in 2004 for almost every segment of the railroad industry, intermodal demand proved to be a leading growth area, especially at year’s end.

“We topped $7 billion in revenue for the first time in our history, and all of our major business sectors set revenue records,” said David Goode, chairman and chief executive officer of Norfolk VA-based Norfolk Southern Corp (NS). He said intermodal set volume records at NS for the quarter and year, recording the biggest revenue increases compared with 2003: 32% to $441 million for the fourth quarter, and 24% to $1.5 billion for 2004.

Fort Worth TX-based Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation (BNSF) said its fourth-quarter 2004 freight revenues increased 19% to an all-time quarterly record of $2.92 billion compared with the same quarter in 2003. Its consumer products revenues rose 22% to $1.18 billion as a result of double-digit increases in the international intermodal, truckload, and perishables sectors.

Jacksonville FL-based CSX Corp saw its surface transportation operating income, including rail and intermodal operations, soar 32% to $315 million in fourth-quarter 2004 versus 2003.

Montreal, Canada-based railway giant CN saw intermodal business grow 12% in fourth-quarter 2004 compared with 2003.

Omaha NE-based Union Pacific (UP) said revenues from its intermodal business went up 11% for the fourth quarter, just behind industrial products (17%), agricultural shipments (12%) and equal to chemicals (11%).

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