BNSF Railway, the railroad owned by investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, reported net income for the fourth quarter slipped nearly 6% to $1.2 billion from $1.3 billion amid slowing demand for some freight, including crude oil shipments.
The railroad’s results were included in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that showed a 13% decline in revenue to $5.2 billion from $6 billion, in part due to lower fuel surcharge collections. Shipments in the quarter fell 3%. The operating ratio of 63 for the quarter was 3 percentage points better than the 2014 period.
The report of weaker earnings rounds out the reports from the largest North American railroads, which mostly showed weaker profits.
“While our long-term outlook for the business remains unchanged, 2016 will be challenging because the rail industry is facing major economic headwinds that are impacting energy-related commodities and several other parts of our business,” a company statement said.
For BNSF, a positive was the fact that operating ratio, train speed and on-time deliveries improved compared with 2014, when performance was plagued in some areas by congestion and delays.
For the full year, net income rose 10% to $4.2 billion, but revenue declined about 5%.
Full-year operating ratio was 64, improving from 69.2.