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Union Pacific Reports Q1 2021 Results

Operating revenue of $5.0 billion was down 4%

Photo: Union Pacific
Photo: Union Pacific

Union Pacific Corp. reports 2021 first quarter net income of $1.3 billion, or $2.00 per diluted share. This compares to $1.5 billion, or $2.15 per diluted share, in the first quarter 2020.

"The first quarter presented some real challenges that impacted our results, but the team did a great job managing the business," says Lance Fritz, Union Pacific chairman, president, and chief executive officer.

"We generated solid productivity through efficient use of our resources despite the significant weather event that covered most of our network in February and early March. I am particularly proud of the women and men of Union Pacific who rolled up their sleeves and kept the network safe, efficient and stable. Looking to the rest of the year, an improving economic outlook, our continued commitment to value based pricing that exceeds inflation and the opportunity for strong productivity give us confidence to affirm our 2021 guidance."

First Quarter Summary

Operating revenue of $5.0 billion was down 4% in first quarter 2021 compared to first quarter 2020. First quarter business volumes, as measured by total revenue carloads, decreased 1% compared to 2020 driven by declines in industrial and bulk shipments, partially offset by strength in premium carloads. In addition, for the first quarter 2021 compared to 2020:

  • Quarterly freight revenue declined 5%, as core pricing gains were more than offset by a less favorable business mix, decreased fuel surcharge revenue, and volume declines.
  • Union Pacific’s 60.1% operating ratio increased 110 basis points, negatively impacted by weather and rising fuel prices in the quarter.
  • Union Pacific’s reportable personal injury rate was 0.85 per 200,000 employee-hours compared to 0.80 for first quarter 2020
  • Fuel consumption rate, measured in gallons of fuel per thousand gross ton-miles (GTMs), was flat.
  • Quarterly freight car velocity was 209 daily miles per car, a 1% decline.
  • Quarterly locomotive productivity was 138 gross ton-miles per horsepower day, a 5% improvement.
  • Quarterly workforce productivity was 1,002 car miles per employee, a 12% improvement.
  • Average maximum train length was 9,247 feet, a 10% increase.
  • The company repurchased 6.7 million shares in first quarter 2021 at an aggregate cost of $1.4 billion.

Summary of First Quarter Freight Revenues

  • Bulk down 1%
  • Industrial down 13%
  • Premium up 2%

2021 Outlook

"During the quarter our service product and lower cost structure enabled us to win new business and develop opportunities to grow," Fritz said. "There are many more growth opportunities to capture by also helping our customers efficiently and reliably reduce the carbon intensity of their supply chains. When we add improved safety results, we create strong value for all of our stakeholders."

About Union Pacific
Union Pacific delivers the goods families and businesses use every day with safe, reliable and efficient service. Operating in 23 western states, the company connects its customers and communities to the global economy. Trains are the most environmentally responsible way to move freight, helping Union Pacific protect future generations.

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