Union Pacific Q3 profit up 23% even with flat volume

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Union Pacific hauled in 23% more profit in the third quarter even though the total number of shipments it delivered remained flat overall.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based railroad said Thursday that it made $1.67 billion, or $2.57 per share in the quarter. That’s up from $1.36 billion, or $2.01 per share, a year ago when the economy was surging back from the worst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The results beat Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of six analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $2.48 per share.

Last year, volume plummeted in the first half of the year as restrictions designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus brought the economy to a crawl before rebounding sharply in the second half of the year as those restrictions began to be lifted.

The railroad said its revenue grew 13% to $5.57 billion in the quarter as it generated more money on nearly every category of freight with higher prices except automotive where that industry has been struggling to maintain production amid the ongoing chip shortages. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $5.38 billion.

The number of automotive shipments fell 18% in the quarter and weighed down volume overall for the railroad.

“The Union Pacific team successfully navigated global supply chain disruptions, a major bridge outage, and additional weather events to produce strong quarterly revenue growth and financial results,” said Lance Fritz, Union Pacific’s chairman, president, and CEO.

Union Pacific is one of the nation’s largest railroads, and it operates 32,400 miles (52,000 kilometers) of track in 23 Western states.


Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on UNP at https://www.zacks.com/ap/UNP