Rail transportation, the backbone of the nations
metals sector logistics system,
is poised to make
major capital investments to add to its fleet in 2013 and
beyond. Much of that capital investment is being fueled by a
boom in domestic gas and oil production unprecedented since the
Burlington Northern Santa Fe
Railway Co. (BNSF), Fort Worth, Texas, recently announced a
planned 2013 capital commitment program exceeding $4 billion.
About 25 percent of that will be used to acquire new
locomotives, freight cars and other equipment.
This record capital plan
continues our long-term focus on ensuring our network is
prepared for the growing U.S. demand for freight rail,
chairman and chief executive officer Matthew K. Rose said.
We are focused on investing to meet our customers
expectations and to expand capacity where growth is occurring.
Given the importance of our low-cost supply chain to the U.S.
economy, our privately funded rail infrastructure is well
positioned to ensure the U.S. ability to compete in global
Much of the fleet investment
will be targeted at upgrading BNSFs armada of rail tank
cars. BNSF is the major rail supplier for the Bakken shale in
western North Dakota, which has catapulted the prairie state to
the No. 2 oil producer in the United States. The Bakken shale
is ill-served by existing pipelines, and producers have been
using rail to ship oil east to refineries and processing
terminals. BNSF expects its volume from Bakken to skyrocket to
an estimated 500,000 barrels per day by year-end from 400,000
barrels per day in 2012, and could top 1 million barrels per
day within five years.
Thats good news for steel and metals producers on two
fronts. BNSF is making a significant investment in a
manufacturing resurgence that is being sparked by the oil boom.
And the Texas rail giant will be a big end-use customer for the
steel used to make all of those rail tank cars.