Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Another Look at Burlington Northern/New Products

I've been interested in railroads for awhile now as I feel they have many competitive advantages moving forward. Click here to view a past post on rails. I do like Burlington Northern (BNI) the best among the majors, although they all likely will benefit. BNSF is one of the "Western Railroads" shipping agricultural materials and coal to the west coast, and don't have as much exposure to the difficulties in the auto industry (Eastern carries have more exposure). Of course Warren Buffett has a large stake (76M shares), and that always helps.

Today I saw some news, although the press releases came out a couple of weeks ago about some innovative products being put out by Burlington Northern:

  • BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) today announced that it has developed a new tool that allows shippers to quantify the amount of carbon emissions that can be saved for those route segments on rail instead of over the road. Overall, shipping by BNSF can save Americans an average of 200 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions per American per year, which is the equivalent of planting 37 trees for each person living in the United States.
  • The new BNSF Carbon Estimator tool bases its calculations on commodity type and weight, and distance traveled by rail. It also takes into consideration the different fuel efficiency of trailer, container or carload shipments, and incorporates the required truck movements to and from BNSF intermodal facilities. The calculations used by the BNSF Carbon Estimator and its accuracy have been verified by Clear Carbon Consulting.
  • "In addition to conserving scarce energy resources, rail provides tremendous value in reducing the country's overall transportation emissions and carbon footprint," Lanigan said. "In 2008, BNSF reduced our nation's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 million metric tons by moving shipments over the rail rather than on our nation's crowded highways. We hope this new tool helps our customers make greener transportation choices. After all, if you can't calculate it, you can't change it."
They've also put out a product to show shippers and carriers how they can save money by using intermodal transportation over strictly using highway shipping:

  • Shipping by intermodal rather than solely by highway provides important environmental, safety and security benefits. And now, with a few keystrokes, shippers and carriers from around the world can quickly see where they can use intermodal services on BNSF's vast network and just how much money it can save them.
  • BNSF has developed two free tools for shippers and carriers to be able to directly compare the cost and transit times of intermodal service to the highway alternative.
  • BNSF's new Intermodal Transit Advisor provides information on available routes, cutoff and availability times, transit time and miles between origin and destination by modes of transport. This allows shippers and carriers to see exactly how their product will move through the intermodal supply chain.
Both of these products can be accessed directly thought their website, www.bnsf.com.

What does this mean to investors? Not a ton, but its nice to see a company taking the lead with new innovative products to gain new customers.

The stock has finally broken lower today, and I'll actively look to buy shares on further weakness.

Disclosure: None

No comments: