BNSF Continues Layoffs Due to Soft Coal and Oil Demand

(BRK.A), (BRK.B)

BNSF Railway continues to trim its workforce, which continues a process that was particularly heavy in 2016.

In 2016, BNSF furloughed about 4,600 workers.

The most recent to face layoffs were 55 workers at the Glendive diesel shop in Glendive, Montana. The layoffs are classified as permanent, and the shop will continue to employ roughly 60 workers.

A spokesman for BNSF cited lower demand for coal and oil shipments as the reason for the layoffs.

System-wide, BNSF’s 2016 carloads were down significantly from 2015 levels. There were a total of 480,000 fewer unit trains than in the prior year.

Things have been looking up in 2017, with total carloads including intermodal up a robust 7.25% system-wide. However, the freight hauler has been working actively on making itself more efficient, which enables it to do the same work with fewer employees.

© 2017 David Mazor

Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell the stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.