BNSF, NS report rising intermodal revenues

Rail giants Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. (BNSF) and Norfolk Southern Corp. (NS) reported rising intermodal revenues in the third quarter this year, which both indicate is coming at the expense of the trucking industry. Though its freight revenues in the third quarter slipped overall to $2.28 billion, down from revenues of $2.31 billion in the same period of 2001, BNSF said that rising intermodal shipments boosted revenue from consumer product freight 3% to $881 million. Still, freight declined 2% for industrial products and 9% for agricultural goods, which helped lower Ft. Worth, TX-based BNSF's earnings to 51 cents per share, compared to 58 cents per share in the third quarter last year. Richmond, VA-based NS posted much better results and attributed its financial gains to intermodal increases. Intermodal revenues climbed 11% to $310 million in the third quarter compared to the same period last year, the highest of any quarter in NS's history. For the first nine months of 2002, NS's intermodal revenues rose 5% to $875 million compared with the same period of 2001. The revenue growth reflects increases in both international and domestic business, particularly converting traffic from the highway, the railroad said. Those numbers helped NS increase net income59% to $126 million and grow revenues 6% to $1.6 billion in the third quarter compared to the same quarter last year.

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