KCS first-quarter profit nearly doubles

April 22, 2011

Kansas City Southern’s first-quarter 2011 profit was almost double that of the first quarter 2010, the railroad reported April 22. This followed an 82 percent increase in profit for calendar-year 2010.

The employee headcount remains constant at 6,080. The railroad did not indicate whether it would be increasing its headcount in 2011.

The KCS first quarter operating ratio declined significantly, from 75.2 percent the first quarter 2010 to 73.8 for the first quarter 2011. The railroad’s fourth-quarter 2010 operating ratio was 73.2.

Operating ratio is a railroad’s operating expenses expressed as a percentage of operating revenue, and is considered by economists to be the basic measure of carrier profitability. The lower the operating ratio, the higher is profit.

“We are especially pleased with the expansive growth in our intermodal (trailers and containers atop flat cars) business,” said CEO David Starling, who reported that cross-border intermodal traffic had increased by 70 percent during the first quarter 2011 compared with first quarter 2010. He said almost half of KCS freight revenue comes from cross-border traffic.

KCS operates some 3,500 route miles in 10 states in the Central and South-Central U.S., as well as Kansas City Southern de Mexico, a primary Mexican rail line.