BNSF announces record capital investment plan
USA: BNSF Railway announced a ‘single-year record capital commitment plan’ on February 4. The total value is $5bn, up almost $1bn on its 2013 capital spend. The 2014 plan includes: $2·3bn for infrastructure works on the 52 000 route-km network in 28 US states and two Canadian provinces; $1·6bn for locomotive, wagon and other equipment acquisitions; $0·9bn for terminal, line and intermodal expansion and efficiency projects; $0·2bn for on-going PTC installation.Much of the investment in capacity expansion will be focused on BNSF’s Northern Corridor, which has been allocated $900m ‘to put the company in position to meet all customer service expectations, including Amtrak’. Expansion and efficiency projects will be focused on line capacity improvements to accommodate growth in agricultural, intermodal, automotive and crude oil related traffic, and terminal improvements to enhance productivity and velocity. BNSF said it handled more than 50% of the volume increases for the US rail industry in 2013, with growth led by an 8% increase in domestic intermodal units, an 11% increase in Industrial Products volumes led by crude-by-rail related traffic, a 3% increase in coal volume and a fourth quarter surge in agricultural products. ‘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 President & CEO Carl Ice.