"We disappointed, but we're going to do better. In fact, we already are."
That was the key message from Carl Ice, president and chief executive officer of BNSF Railway as he addressed the more than 600 members of the National Feed & Grain Association meeting at their 119th annual convention in San Antonio, Texas.
Ice reiterated what has recently been reported in Feed & Grain; that is, that the company introduced a $5 billion capital investment plan for 2014 that added more than 5,000 employees, 500 locomotives and 5,000 freight cars plus overall infrastructure improvements.
While the NGFA audience was understandably focused on the oil vs. grain capacity issues, Ice noted that BNSF measures 22 business segments, and in 2014, 19 of those segments were up. Domestic intermodal is the largest segment, at all-time records.
As such, Ice talked about investments that benefit the entire system, rather than targeting any particular segment. Overall capital investments for 2015 will approach $6 billon and include a new-generation signal system.
"Generally, our railroad is in the best shape it's ever been, as it should be," he said.
Ice also noted how unique it is to address an organization marking its 119th anniversary. "What's even more impressive," he noted, "is that our company and the ag industry have been working together since the 1850s."