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Union Pacific CFO: Flooding To Trim May Volume By About 1%

By Bob Sechler Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Union Pacific Corp. (UNP) Chief Financial Officer Rob Knight said Friday that disruptions from the historic Mississippi River flooding likely will reduce the railroad's May freight volume by about 1%, although he expressed confidence in the economic recovery overall. "We're seeing encouraging signs of increasing economic improvement" going forward, Knight said, speaking during a presentation at a Bank of American Merrill Lynch conference. His comments echoed those of Norfolk Southern Corp. (NSC) Chief Marketing Officer Don Seale earlier Friday at the same conference in Boston. Seale was upbeat on the economic recovery but said the flooding has crimped Norfolk Southern's growth in second-quarter freight volume, although he didn't quantify it. "We will make up that business," Seale said. "We don't think it's lost, it's deferred." Norfolk Southern's second-quarter volume was up about 3% through May 14, compared to the year-ago period, he said, after climbing 8% in the first quarter. Knight said Union Pacific's year-to-date volume through May 17 was up 5%, identical to its first-quarter percentage gain. Aside from the May disruptions, Knight said it's too early to tell how the flooding will impact overall second-quarter volume. -By Bob Sechler, Dow Jones Newswires; 512-258-1690; bob.sechler@dowjones.com

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