Union Pacific: Second Quarter Operating Revenues Down 24 Percent

A pair of Union Pacific locomotives idle in Atlanta on June 11, 2011. (Photo by Todd DeFeo)

Union Pacific Corp. reported second quarter 2020 operating revenue of $4.2 billion, down 24 percent compared to a year ago, a clear sign of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Second quarter business volumes, as measured by total revenue carloads, decreased 20 percent compared to 2019. Volumes for all three business teams – bulk, industrial, and premium – declined in the quarter due to the deteriorating economic conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition, quarterly freight revenue declined 24 percent, compared to second quarter 2019, as core pricing gains were offset by lower volumes, negative business mix and decreased fuel surcharge revenue.

“The Second Quarter proved very challenging as we faced a volume decline of 20 percent due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Lance Fritz, Union Pacific chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.

“Demonstrating the transformation our Company is experiencing through the implementation of Unified Plan 2020, we were able to largely mitigate the impact of that volume loss. “Our dedicated employees are feeling a very real impact from this pandemic, making tangible sacrifices,” Fritz added. “Despite this adversity, they continue to make strides to improve the safety of our railroad, while providing our customers an uninterrupted, enhanced service product.”

Union Pacific officials said they expect their full year 2020 carload volumes to be down about 10 percent compared to 2019.

“Our first priority continues to be the health and safety of our employees during the pandemic, as they perform critical service to support economic recovery,” Fritz said. “Our ability to be nimble and flexible in adjusting our resources to rapidly changing volumes, while providing a high level service product, demonstrates the strength of our service model. We remain focused on providing our customers with a safe, reliable and efficient service product.”