A surge in rail shipping led to record fourth-quarter revenue and a sharply higher profit at Kansas City Southern, the company said Friday.
The Kansas City-based railroad reported quarterly growth in five of its six freight-hauling groups, led by a 13 percent increase in automotive and 9 percent gains in chemicals-petroleum and energy. However, agriculture and mineral revenue declined 5 percent, mostly because of a decline in grain shipments compared with a strong 2013 fourth quarter, the company said.
Overall, shipping volume was 5 percent higher than in the fourth quarter of 2013.
For the final three months of 2014, Kansas City Southern generated revenue of $643 million, up 4 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013. Net income totaled $142 million, up from $114 million in the same period the previous year.
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For the full year, the railroad’s revenue was a record $2.6 billion, up 9 percent from 2013. Net income climbed to $504 million from $353 million in 2013.
David Starling, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said in the earnings report that the company “met its stated target of high single-digit year-over-year revenue growth.”
In 2015, Starling said the company, which has major north-south rail lines, is “well positioned to maintain its growth momentum, driven by a strengthening economy and unique franchise opportunities.” In particular, Starling said he expects “volume growth in crude oil traffic originating in Canada and terminating at various Gulf locations.”