Fort Worth-based BNSF Railway Co. announced a new single-year record capital commitment plan of about $5 billion for 2014. That’s about a $1 billion increase over its 2013 capital spend.
The largest component of the capital plan is spending $2.3 billion on BNSF’s core network and related assets. BNSF also plans to spend approximately $1.6 billion on locomotive, freight car and other equipment acquisitions. In addition, the program includes about $200 million for continued installation of positive train control (PTC) and approximately $900 million for terminal, line and intermodal expansion and efficiency projects. BNSF’s expansion and efficiency projects will be primarily focused on line capacity improvements to accommodate growth in agricultural products, intermodal, automotive, and industrial products volumes related to crude oil production, and other terminal improvements to enhance productivity and velocity. More than $900 million of the capital plan is for expansion and maintenance in the Northern Corridor.
BNSF handled more than 50 percent of the volume increases for the rail industry in 2013. The growth was led by an 8 percent increase in domestic intermodal units, an 11 percent increase in Industrial Products volumes led by crude-by-rail related traffic, a 3 percent increase in coal volumes and a fourth quarter surge in agricultural products. This growth is on top of a 2012 BNSF total volume base of more than 9.6 million units. Much of the capacity expansion in the 2014 capital plan is for infrastructure investment on BNSF’s Northern Corridor to put the company in position to meet all customer service expectations, including Amtrak. “Our capital plan continues to focus on improving our ability to meet our customers’ service expectations, increasing our capacity where there is growth, and strengthening our railroad to help ensure it remains the safest means of ground transportation for freight,” said Carl Ice, president and CEO of BNSF Railway. BNSF said it handled more than 50 percent of the volume increases for the rail industry in 2013. The growth was led by an 8 percent increase in domestic intermodal units, an 11 percent increase in industrial products volumes led by crude oil-by-rail traffic, a 3 percent increase in coal volumes and a fourth-quarter surge in agricultural products. BNSF did not break out the capital budget on a state-by-state basis, something it usually does later in the year. BNSF is owned by Omaha, Neb., based conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc.