Revenues at Canadian National Railway for 2013 ticked up to C$10.58 billion ($9.54 billion), a year-over-year rise of seven percent, but net income fell, year over year by C$68 million to C$2.61 billion.
Total revenue rose on the strength of increased revenues in the petroleum and chemical, metals and minerals, and forest products markets.
Petroleum revenues increased by 18 percent, year over year, with metal revenues rising 7 percent and forest product revenues ticking up 6 percent. Intermodal revenues were up by 9 percent.
Carrier officials attribute these revenue jumps to larger freight volumes, freight rate increases, growth in the North American economy, and a strong U.S.-Canada exchange rate.
In 2013, carloadings inched up by 3 percent, strengthened by a 3-percent increase in carloadings during the fourth quarter. Also in the quarter, revenue ton-miles and revenue per ton-mile increased. For the last three months of 2013, income rose by C$25 million to C$635 million.
Officials are anticipating that industrial production in North American will rise by 3 percent, and U.S. and Canadian grain shippers will see harvests in excess of their respective five-year averages. For the U.S., the carrier also expects around 1.1 million housing starts in the coming year and 16 million auto sales. Taken together, all these signs point to “mid-single-digit carload growth, along with continued pricing improvement above inflation,” according to a release.
The carrier said it will invest C$2.1 billion on capital projects in 2014, earmarking more than half of that money for track improvements.
“CN sees good opportunities in 2014 in a number of markets, including intermodal, oil-and-gas-related commodities, Canadian and U.S. grain, and commodities related to the recovery in the U.S. housing market,” Claude Mongeau, president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “With continued supply chain collaboration and solid execution, the CN team is focused on safely and efficiently growing the company’s business at low incremental cost and at a pace faster than the overall economy.”