BNSF ups network investments with focus on better service

Date: Friday, January 27, 2023
Source: Supply Chain Dive

BNSF expects to spend $3.96 billion on its network in 2023 as the railroad looks to improve service through infrastructure upgrades and efficiency projects.

The railroad said Thursday it will increase this year’s capital expenditure plan by approximately $400 million over 2022. The majority of the funds — approximately $2.85 billion — will go toward existing infrastructure that will help the carrier avoid unscheduled service outages.

The announcement comes as major railroads work to win back business following months of network disruptions that at times brought traffic to a halt. At the Midwest Association of Rail Shippers Winter Meeting last week, BNSF CEO Katie Farmer said the carrier must evolve to prioritize productivity and customer service if it hopes to grow market share.

“You should expect us to deliver industry-leading service because we expect it from ourselves,” Farmer told a crowd of rail shippers. “And you should expect us to be able to drive value that allows us to reinvest in our business so that we can grow with you.”

BNSF’s capital expenditure plan earmarks more than $700 million for expansion and efficiency projects that support the growth of segments including intermodal, agricultural, automotive and industrial. Funding will also go toward the railroad’s planned intermodal hub in Barstow, California, which will help process containers coming from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The expansion projects are expected to boost traffic within its core intermodal line connecting the West Coast to the Midwest, which experienced significant disruptions last summer. BNSF is also investing heavily in new technology to help customers get a picture of their end-to-end supply chains as the railroad ramps up its intermodal partnership with J.B. Hunt.

“We value your business, we’ll continue to compete for your business,” Farmer told shippers. “We’ll continue to invest and we’ll continue to evolve to be able to support your business.”


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