BNSF’s $5.5B investment helps keep grain moving on rails

BNSF’s $5.5B investment helps keep grain moving on rails

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From WATTAgNet:

Berkshire Hathaway is investing $5.5 billion on improvements to its 32,500-mile BNSF Railways network. But while the railway is hiring more than 7,000 new workers, it also is pulling thousands of rail cars off its lines.

According to an analysis, the strategy has paid off this winter. Last winter, BNSF rail cars, including those hauling grain across the United States, were stuck at terminals for an average of 35 hours. This year, they are back on the tracks in less than a day and moving 15 percent faster than they did last year.

Grain companies said they saw improvements this year, compared with last year.

“Rail was a lot better this year. We didn’t see the delays," said Mark Formo, president of the North Dakota Grain Growers Association. "In fact, we saw cars showing up for deliveries a day early.”

All respondents in a February survey by the Soy Transportation Coalition said cycle times – how long it takes a train to pick up a shipment, deliver it and return – have improved from last year.

Some customers credit fewer weather-related disruptions and less demand for oil-by-rail and grain shipments for better service.

"To me it’s market driven," said Brian Hammerbeck, president of Dakota Mill & Grain. "Prices are down, and you have farmers keeping more of it, so it’s a much different environment.

Berkshire’s railroad revamps service with billions, fewer cars

By Jarrett Renshaw NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stung by customer backlash over last winter’s patchy service, Berkshire Hathaway’s BNSF Railways invested billions in shoring up its operations. Since October, BNSF has cut its number of cars by 9 percent to just under 237,000, whereas the rest of the industry grew by 0.4 percent.

Read more at Yahoo News

Buffett’s BNSF Railways Sees Major Improvements In Service

After years of delays and customer complaints, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B)’s BNSF Railways decided to invest billions in upgrading its operations last year, and it has paid off handsomely. Over the last year and change, BNSF Railways hired over 7,000 new employees and spent $5.5 billion improving its 32,500-mile network, and has recently even used the strategy of pulling cars off the tracks.

Read more at Valuewalk

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