10-K 1 unp20231231_10k.htm FORM 10-K unp20231231_10k.htm
0000100885 UNION PACIFIC CORP false --12-31 FY 2023 2.50 2.50 1,400,000,000 1,400,000,000 1,112,854,806 1,112,623,886 609,703,814 612,393,321 4.29 5.08 5.20 1 1 31,979,909 33,185,971 34,011,624 0 3 21 0 31 92 July 31, 2025 1 2.2 2.2 7.1 7.1 February 14, 2072 February 14, 2072 2.6 2.6 6.2 6.2 January 2, 2031 January 2, 2031 3.1 3.1 6.8 6.8 December 10, 2028 December 10, 2028 0.9 April 15, 2022 May 20, 2027 0.50 4.750 February 21, 2026 0.50 4.950 May 15, 2053 October 24, 2023 Elizabeth F. Whited President true false false false December 15, 2023 Todd M. Rynaski Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting, Risk, and Compliance Officer true false false false Net of deferred taxes of $31 million, ($92) million, and ($237) million during 2023, 2022, and 2021, respectively. Prior periods have been reclassified to conform to the current period disclosure. Amortization of leased assets is reported in depreciation in our Consolidated Statements of Income. Interest on lease liabilities is reported in interest expense in our Consolidated Statements of Income. Finance lease assets are recorded net of accumulated amortization of $497 million and $658 million as of December 31, 2023 and 2022, respectively. In 2023, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Arkansas enacted corporate income tax legislation that resulted in a $114 million reduction of our deferred tax expense. In 2022, Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, and Idaho enacted corporate income tax legislation that resulted in a $95 million reduction of our deferred tax expense. Other roadway includes grading, bridges and tunnels, signals, buildings, and other road assets. AOCI = Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income/Loss (Note 9) Includes accrued receivables, net payables, and pending broker settlements. The accumulated other comprehensive income/loss reclassification components are 1) prior service cost/credit and 2) net actuarial loss, which are both included in the computation of net periodic pension benefit/cost. See Note 5 Retirement Plans for additional details. Includes 7,012,232 shares repurchased in 2022 under accelerated share repurchase programs. Registered investment companies measured at fair value are stock investments. 2023 includes a one-time $107 million transaction. 2022 includes a $79 million gain from a land sale to the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and a $35 million gain from a sale to the Colorado Department of Transportation. 2021 includes a $50 million gain from a sale to the Colorado Department of Transportation. In the period of the final settlement, the average price paid under the accelerated share repurchase programs is calculated based on the total program value less the value assigned to the initial delivery of shares. The average price of the completed 2022 accelerated share repurchase programs was $248.32. Includes 1,847,185 shares repurchased in 2022 under accelerated share repurchase programs. Equipment obligations are secured by an interest in certain railroad equipment with a carrying value of approximately $0.9 billion at both December 31, 2023 and 2022. Operating lease cost is primarily reported in equipment and other rents in our Consolidated Statements of Income. Registered investment companies measured at NAV include bond investments. 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Table of Contents

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

(Mark One)

 ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023

OR

 TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from __________ to ____________

 

Commission File Number 1-6075

 

UNION PACIFIC CORPORATION

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Utah

 

13-2626465

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

 

1400 Douglas Street, Omaha, Nebraska68179
(Address of principal executive offices)(Zip Code)

 

Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (402) 544-5000

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

Title of each Class

Trading Symbol

Name of each exchange on which registered

Common Stock (Par Value $2.50 per share)

UNP

 New York Stock Exchange

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

Yes   ☐ No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.

☐Yes   ☑ No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

Yes   ☐ No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

Yes   ☐ No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
 

Large Accelerated Filer 

 

Accelerated Filer 

Non-Accelerated Filer 

 

Smaller Reporting Company 

 

Emerging Growth Company

  

 

If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

 

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act).

Yes   ☑ No

As of June 30, 2023, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s Common Stock held by non-affiliates (using the New York Stock Exchange closing price) was $123.0 billion.

 

The number of shares outstanding of the registrant’s Common Stock as of February 2, 2024, was 609,777,914.

 

Documents Incorporated by Reference – Portions of the registrant’s definitive Proxy Statement for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on May 9, 2024, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this report. The registrant’s Proxy Statement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) within 120 days after the end of the fiscal year that this report relates pursuant to Regulation 14A.

 

UNION PACIFIC CORPORATION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

     
 

CEO’s Letter

3

 

Directors and Senior Management

4

     

PART I

     

Item 1.

Business

5

Item 1A.

Risk Factors

10

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

16

Item 1C. Cybersecurity 16

Item 2.

Properties

18

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

20

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosures

21

 

Executive Officers of the Registrant and Principal Executive Officers of Subsidiaries

22

     

PART II

     

Item 5.

Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

23

Item 6. [Reserved] 24

Item 7.

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

24

 

Critical Accounting Estimates

24

 

Cautionary Information

38

Item 7A.

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

39

Item 8.

Financial Statements and Supplementary Data

40

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

41

Item 9.

Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure

72

Item 9A.

Controls and Procedures

72

 

Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control Over Financial Reporting

72

 

Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm

73

Item 9B.

Other Information

74

Item 9C. Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections 74
     

PART III

     

Item 10.

Directors, Executive Officers, and Corporate Governance

74

Item 11.

Executive Compensation

74

Item 12.

Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters

75

Item 13.

Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence

75

Item 14.

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

75

     

PART IV

     

Item 15.

Exhibit and Financial Statement Schedules

75

Item 16.

Form 10-K Summary

79

 

Signatures

80

  Certifications 81

 

 

February 9, 2024

 

Fellow Shareholders:

 

As Union Pacific shareholders, we own a piece of history. Over the course of 161 years, our Company is built to handle inevitable changes and challenges of business cycles while seeking ways to innovate and grow. 2023 was no different.

 

This year, I assumed the role of Chief Executive Officer, and Lance Fritz retired after a distinguished career. At that time, we also split the roles of Chairman and CEO and Mike McCarthy, was named Chairman of the Board of Directors. The transition was seamless, a credit to the Board, Lance, and the management team.

 

Since becoming CEO, I have focused the team on a multi-year strategy of “Safety + Service & Operational Excellence = Growth.” Safety must always be our first area of focus, returning everyone home safely each day. Service is all about delivering what we sold our customers, committing to what we can do and doing it with excellence. Operational Excellence is about operating efficiently and productively while maintaining a buffer to handle ups and downs of railroading.

 

In the second half of 2023, we achieved great momentum as the team united to deliver a shared strategy. Our fourth quarter operating metrics were the best of the year. We exited the year with a stronger service product and fluid network. Our Fourth Quarter financial results also demonstrated momentum as we achieved sequential quarterly margin improvement. For 2023, we reported earnings per diluted share of $10.45, a 7% decrease versus 2022, reflecting 1% lower volumes and an operating ratio increase of 220 basis points. To support our service product and growth, we invested $3.7 billion back into our network. Soft consumer markets, continued inflationary pressures, and new labor agreements all impacted financial results.

 

As we turn the page to 2024, we are looking at the opportunities ahead. The entire Union Pacific team is focused on being the industry’s best in safety, service, and operational excellence. That strategy leads to long-term growth and provides you with industry-leading returns on your investment. It’s how we win.

 

We understand that we hold the keys to an iconic company that helped Build America. We are propelled by that history and recognize we have an important responsibility to deliver for our stakeholders. We are grateful for this opportunity and thank you for your ownership of Union Pacific

 

vena_jimsig2.jpg

Chief Executive Officer

 

 

DIRECTORS AND SENIOR MANAGEMENT

         

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

       
         

William J. DeLaney

Former Chief Executive Officer - Sysco Corporation

Board Committees: Compensation and Benefits (Chair); Safety and Service Quality

 

David B. Dillon

Former Chairman and CEO - The Kroger Company

Board Committees: Audit (Chair); Corporate Governance, Nominating, and Sustainability

 

Sheri H. Edison

Former Executive Vice President and General Counsel - Amcor plc

Board Committees: Compensation and Benefits; Corporate Governance, Nominating, and Sustainability (Chair)

 

Teresa M. Finley

Former Chief Marketing and Business Services Officer - United Parcel Service, Inc.

Board Committees: Audit; Finance

 

Deborah C. Hopkins

Former Chief Executive Officer - Citi Ventures and Former Chief Innovation Officer - Citi

Board Committees: Compensation and Benefits; Finance (Chair)

 

Jane H. Lute

Strategic Advisor - SICPA, North America

Board Committees: Audit; Safety and Service Quality (Chair)

 

Michael R. McCarthy

Chairman - Union Pacific Corporation and Union Pacific Railroad Company; Chairman - McCarthy Group, LLC; and Co-Chairman - Bridges Trust Company

Board Committees: Corporate Governance, Nominating, and Sustainability; Finance

 

Doyle R. Simons

Former President and CEO - Weyerhaeuser Company

Board Committees: Compensation and Benefits; Safety and Service Quality

 

John K. Tien, Jr.

Former Deputy Secretary - U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Board Committees: Pending Assignment

 

V. James Vena

Chief Executive Officer - Union Pacific Corporation and Union Pacific Railroad Company

 

John P. Wiehoff

Former Chairman, President, and CEO - C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc.

Board Committees: Audit; Safety and Service Quality

 

Christopher J. Williams

Chairman - Siebert Williams Shank & Co.

Board Committees: Audit; Finance

         
SENIOR MANAGEMENT        
         

V. James Vena

Chief Executive Officer

 

Prentiss W. Bolin, Jr.

Vice President - External Relations

 

Bryan L. Clark

Vice President - Tax

 

Eric J. Gehringer*

Executive Vice President - Operations

 

Rebecca B. Gregory*

Vice President and Chief of Staff

 

Jennifer L. Hamann

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

 

Rahul Jalali

Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer

 

Michael V. Miller

Vice President and Treasurer

 

Craig V. Richardson

Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary

 

Kenny G. Rocker*

Executive Vice President - Marketing and Sales

 

Todd M. Rynaski

Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting, Risk, and Compliance Officer

 

Elizabeth F. Whited

President

 

*For Union Pacific Railroad Company only.

 

 

PART I

 

Item 1. Business

 

GENERAL

 

Union Pacific Railroad Company is the principal operating company of Union Pacific Corporation. One of America's most recognized companies, Union Pacific Railroad Company connects 23 states in the western two-thirds of the country by rail, providing a critical link in the global supply chain. The Railroad’s diversified business mix includes Bulk, Industrial, and Premium. Union Pacific serves many of the fastest-growing U.S. population centers, operates from all major West Coast and Gulf Coast ports to Eastern gateways, connects with Canada's rail systems, and is the only railroad serving all six major Mexico gateways. Union Pacific provides value to its roughly 10,000 customers by delivering products in a safe, reliable, fuel-efficient, and environmentally responsible manner.

 

Union Pacific Corporation was incorporated in Utah in 1969 and maintains its principal executive offices at 1400 Douglas Street, Omaha, NE 68179. The telephone number at that address is (402) 544-5000. The common stock of Union Pacific Corporation is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol “UNP”.

 

For purposes of this report, unless the context otherwise requires, all references herein to "Union Pacific", “UPC”, “Corporation”, “Company”, “we”, “us”, and “our” shall mean Union Pacific Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Union Pacific Railroad Company, which we separately refer to as “UPRR” or the “Railroad”.

 

STRATEGY

 

Safety, Service, and Operational Excellence supports the Company's long term initiative to Grow its freight volumes (Safety + Service & Operational Excellence = Growth). Together as a team, the Company will focus on achieving the best safety record in the industry, being known for superior service, grounded in operational excellence which, in turn, drives growth. 

 

Safety is paramount and, as our first area of focus, sets the foundation for achieving the Company's objectives. The mindset and culture are built around a personal commitment by all employees to prioritize safety so everyone goes home safely.

 

Service is all about delivering what we sold our customers. We work with our customers to understand the service they need to win in their markets and then drive how we win together. We commit to these service levels and do it with excellence.

 

Operational Excellence is about operating efficiently and productively. We will drive value with our available resources, but also maintain a buffer so our service is resilient, managing the inevitable ups and downs that come with weather, fluctuating volumes, and securing growth.

 

Execution of our strategy to be the industry leader in both safety and service leads to revenue growth with improved margins and greater cash generation, creating long term enterprise value. The result will be strong financial performance driving significant shareholder returns.

 

As we work to transform our railroad, our core values continue to guide us. Our passion for performance will help us win; our high ethical standards ensure we win in a way that supports all of our stakeholders; and our teamwork ensures we win together.

 

OPERATIONS

 

The Railroad, along with its subsidiaries and rail affiliates, is our one reportable operating segment. Although we provide and analyze revenues by commodity group, we treat the financial results of the Railroad as one segment due to the integrated nature of our rail network. Additional information regarding our business and operations, including revenues, financial information and data, and other information regarding environmental matters, is presented in Risk Factors, Item 1A; Legal Proceedings, Item 3; Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, Item 7; and the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, Item 8. 

 

 

Operations – UPRR is a Class I railroad operating in the U.S. We have 32,693 route miles, connecting Pacific Coast and Gulf Coast ports with the Midwest and Eastern U.S. gateways and providing several corridors to key Mexican and Canadian gateways. We serve the western two-thirds of the country and maintain coordinated schedules with other rail carriers to move freight to and from the Atlantic Coast, the Pacific Coast, the Southeast, the Southwest, Canada, and Mexico. Export and import traffic moves through Gulf Coast, Pacific Coast, and East Coast ports and across the Mexican and Canadian borders. In 2023, we generated freight revenues totaling $22.6 billion from the following three commodity groups:

2023 Freight Revenues

pierevenuea.jpg

 

Bulk – The Company's Bulk shipments consist of grain and grain products, fertilizer, food and refrigerated, and coal and renewables. In 2023, this group generated 33% of our freight revenues. We access most major grain markets, connecting the Midwest and Western U.S. producing areas to export terminals in the Pacific Northwest and Gulf Coast ports as well as Mexico. We also serve significant domestic markets, including grain processors, animal feeders, ethanol, and renewable biofuel producers in the Midwest and West. Fertilizer movements originate in the Gulf Coast region, Midwest, Western U.S., and Canada (through interline access) for delivery to major agricultural users in those areas as well as abroad. The Railroad’s network supports the transportation of coal shipments to independent and regulated power companies and industrial facilities throughout the U.S. Through interchange gateways and ports, UPRR’s reach extends to Eastern U.S. utilities as well as to Mexico and other international destinations. Coal traffic originating in the Powder River Basin (PRB) area of Wyoming is the largest portion of the Railroad’s coal business. Renewable shipments for customers committed to sustainability consist primarily of biomass exports and wind turbine components.

 

Industrial – Our extensive network facilitates the movement of numerous commodities between thousands of origin and destination points throughout North America. The Industrial group consists of several categories, including construction, industrial chemicals, plastics, forest products, specialized products (primarily waste, salt, and roofing), metals and ores, petroleum, liquid petroleum gases (LPG), soda ash, and sand. Transportation of these products accounted for 36% of our freight revenues in 2023. Commercial, residential, and governmental infrastructure investments drive shipments of steel, aggregates, cement, and wood products. Industrial and light manufacturing plants receive steel, nonferrous materials, minerals, and other raw materials.

 

The industrial chemicals market consists of a vast number of chemical compounds that support the manufacturing of more complex chemicals. Plastics shipments support automotive, housing, and the durable and disposable consumer goods markets. Forest product shipments include lumber and paper commodities. Lumber shipments originate primarily in the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada and move throughout the U.S. for use in new home construction and repairs and remodeling. Paper shipments primarily support packaging needs. Oil and gas drilling generates demand for raw steel, finished pipe, stone, and drilling fluid commodities. The Company’s petroleum and LPG shipments are primarily impacted by refinery utilization rates, regional crude pricing differentials, pipeline capacity, and the use of asphalt for road programs. Soda ash originates in southwestern Wyoming and California, destined for chemical and glass producing markets in North America and abroad.

 

Premium – In 2023, Premium shipments generated 31% of Union Pacific’s total freight revenues. Premium includes finished automobiles, automotive parts, and merchandise in intermodal containers, both domestic and international. International business consists of import and export traffic moving in 20 or 40-foot shipping containers, that mainly pass through West Coast ports, destined for one of the Company's many inland intermodal terminals. Domestic business includes container and trailer traffic picked up and delivered within North America for intermodal marketing companies (primarily shipper agents and logistics companies) as well as truckload carriers.

 

We are the largest automotive carrier west of the Mississippi River and operate or access 39 vehicle distribution centers. The Railroad’s extensive franchise accesses six vehicle assembly plants and connects to West Coast ports, all six major Mexico gateways, and the Port of Houston to accommodate both import and export shipments. In addition to transporting finished vehicles, the Company provides expedited handling of automotive parts in both boxcars and intermodal containers destined for Mexico, the U.S., and Canada.

 

 

Seasonality – Some of the commodities we carry have peak shipping seasons, reflecting either or both the nature of the commodity (such as certain agricultural and food products that have specific growing and harvesting seasons) and the demand cycle for the commodity (such as intermodal traffic that generally peaks during the third quarter to meet back-to-school and holiday-related demand for consumer goods during the fourth quarter). The peak shipping seasons for these commodities can vary considerably each year depending upon various factors, including the strength of domestic and international economies and currencies; consumer demand; the strength of harvests, which can be adversely affected by severe weather; market prices for agricultural products; and supply chain disruptions.

 

Proud & Engaged Workforce – Our employees are central to our Safety + Service & Operational Excellence = Growth strategy, and investing in our workforce is key to our success.

 

Our People: Our award-winning, multigenerational workforce includes talented people from all walks of life, in many stages of life. Made up of management and craft professionals, we are focused on attracting, retaining, and developing talent across our entire system.

 

As of December 31, 2023, the Company employed 32,973 employees. Our workforce includes five generations from Traditionalists (born before 1946) to Generation Z (born after 1998). The average age is 46.6 with average tenure of 15.9 years.

 

Union Pacific works with 13 major rail unions, representing approximately 85% of our workforce. The National Carriers Conference Committee of the National Railway Labor Conference, consisting of the top labor officers in most Class I railroads, is the bargaining committee for the industry. Railroads are governed by the Railway Labor Act (RLA), a federal statute enacted in 1926 to bring the railroads and unions to agreement without disruptions to rail transportation. The RLA includes numerous safeguards to help overcome bargaining stalemates. The next round of negotiations begins on January 1, 2025, related to years 2025-2029. 

 

Our Culture: We incorporate our commitment to safety, diversity and inclusion, high ethical standards, passion for performance, and teamwork into our day-to-day operations as we serve our customers. 

 

Safety is central to everything we do at Union Pacific. Together, we are committed to cultivating a safety-focused culture, so our employees return home safely every day. To achieve this, our employees identify risks, initiate action to mitigate those risks, and have the courage to care to keep each other safe.

 

Our success is measured by our personal injury rate (the number of reportable injuries for every 200,000 employee-hours worked) and our derailment incident rate (the number of reportable derailment incidents per million train miles). Reportable personal injuries are defined as on duty incidents or occupational illnesses that result in employees losing time away from work, modifying or restricting their normal duties, or receiving any medical treatment above and beyond first aid. Reportable derailment incidents are defined as any occurrence where a wheel of a locomotive or rail car falls off the track and causes damage to track, equipment, or structures above the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) reporting threshold, regardless of ownership ($11,500 for 2023 and $12,000 for 2024) per million train miles. Personal injuries and derailment incidents that meet reportable criteria are reported to the FRA.

 

Our 2023 personal injury rate of 1.17 deteriorated 4%, while our derailment incident rate of 2.72 improved 6% versus 2022. (See further discussion in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, Item 7, of this report.)

 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Union Pacific’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is based on our desire to create an environment where people can be their best, personally and professionally. We believe that a diverse and supportive culture increases employee engagement, improves morale, and allows qualified employees to succeed and contribute to Union Pacific's success. All of this supports our safety strategy and improves the quality of decision-making, problem-solving, and strategic thinking.

 

Union Pacific’s commitment, today and for the future, is to further improve and strengthen performance through an inclusive workforce that reflects the diverse markets and communities we serve, where everyone is treated fairly, differences are valued, and talent is recognized and rewarded. To that end, Union Pacific intends to maintain its standards of hiring and promoting based on merit, while aspiring to reach 40% people of color and double our female representation to 11% in our workforce by 2030. As of December 31, 2023, workforce representation of people of color and females was approximately 33.8% and 5.5%, respectively.

 

 

The Employee Journey: From recruitment to retirement and milestones in between, we are relentlessly focused on supporting and engaging employees throughout their Union Pacific journey. We view it as imperative to invest in our employees with meaningful benefit offerings, developmental experiences, and career opportunities.

 

The process begins with recruitment, where we strive to attract the most talented and diverse employees to join our team. Then, we focus on training and development, which includes courses and programs designed to help our employees grow into new roles and/or learn a new skill in their current role so that we can retain our workforce over time.

 

Providing competitive compensation and meaningful benefits is key to attracting and retaining talented employees. Union Pacific is committed to continuously reviewing its compensation programs and comprehensive benefits programs to promote programs that are fair and competitive. Both are key to enhancing the value of working for Union Pacific and demonstrating the Company’s commitment to the health and wealth of employees during their career. Benefits vary based on the applicable collective bargaining agreement or an employee’s management status. The final stage of the employee journey is a fulfilling retirement, which is enabled during their UP career through our compensation and benefit programs, particularly contributions to 401(k) plans and the employee stock purchase plan (ESPP).

 

Our Board of Directors evaluates our non-union compensation plans and reviews recommendations from the Compensation and Benefits Committee, while collective bargaining agreements govern compensation for our union employees. The median annual compensation for all employees employed as of December 31, 2023, was $108,244 (excluding the CEO).

 

Talent is critical - our ability to recruit and retain employees is directly tied to our railroad’s fluidity. Without team members to dispatch, operate trains, and maintain our infrastructure, our network struggles to provide customers efficient, reliable service. We are focused on effectively managing workforce levels to the demands of the business and improving quality of life for our employees. Therefore, we continue to hire to backfill attrition and handle growth as needed.

 

Railroad Security – Our security efforts consist of a wide variety of measures, including employee training, engagement with our customers, training of emergency responders, and partnerships with numerous federal, state, and local government agencies. While federal law requires us to protect the confidentiality of our security plans designed to safeguard against terrorism and other security incidents, the following provides a general overview of our security initiatives.

 

UPRR Security Measures – We maintain a comprehensive security plan designed to both deter and respond to any potential or actual threats as they arise. The plan includes four levels of alert status, each with its own set of countermeasures. We employ our own police force, consisting of commissioned and highly-trained officers. The police are certified state law enforcement officers with investigative and arrest powers. The Union Pacific Police Department has achieved accreditation under the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc. (CALEA) for complying with the highest law enforcement standards. Our employees undergo recurrent security and preparedness training as well as federally mandated hazardous materials and security training. We regularly review the sufficiency of our employee training programs. We maintain the capability to move critical operations to back-up facilities in different locations.

 

We operate an emergency response management center 24 hours a day. The center receives reports of emergencies, dangerous or potentially dangerous conditions, and other safety and security issues from our employees, the public, law enforcement, and other government officials. In cooperation with government officials, we monitor both threats and public events, and, as necessary, we may alter rail traffic flow at times of concern to minimize risk to communities and our operations. We comply with the hazardous materials routing rules and other requirements imposed by federal law. We design our operating plan to expedite the movement of hazardous material shipments to minimize the time rail cars remain idle at yards and terminals located in or near major population centers. Additionally, in compliance with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) regulations, we deployed information systems and instructed employees in tracking and documenting the handoff of Rail Security Sensitive Materials with customers and interchange partners.

 

We established a number of our own innovative safety and security-oriented initiatives ranging from various investments in technology to The Officer on Train program, which provides local law enforcement officers with the opportunity to ride with train crews to enhance their understanding of railroad operations and risks. Our staff of information security professionals continually assess cybersecurity risks and implement mitigation programs that evolve with the changing technology threat environment. To date, we have not experienced any material disruption of our operations due to a cyber threat or incident directed at us.

 

 

Cooperation with Federal, State, and Local Government Agencies – We work closely on physical and cybersecurity initiatives with government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), along with its Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the TSA; as well as local police departments, fire departments, and other first responders.

 

Based on guidance from the TSA, starting from January 1, 2022, we were obligated to report cyber incidents to CISA. Additionally, we appointed cybersecurity coordinators, conducted a self-assessment of our cyber vulnerabilities, and put in place a plan to respond to cyber incidents. We are currently awaiting approval of our security plan before progressing with the establishment of a cybersecurity assessment plan, which will describe how the Company proactively and regularly evaluates the effectiveness of our cybersecurity measures as well as identify and address any weaknesses in our devices, networks, and systems.

 

In conjunction with the Association of American Railroads (AAR), we sponsor Ask Rail, a mobile application that provides first responders with secure links to electronic information, including commodity and emergency response information required by emergency personnel to respond to accidents and other situations. We also participate in the National Joint Terrorism Task Force, a multi-agency effort established by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to combat and prevent terrorism.

 

We work with the Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Military Transport Management Command, which monitor shipments entering the UPRR rail network at U.S. border crossings and ports. We were the first railroad in the U.S. to be named a partner in CBP’s Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, a partnership designed to develop, enhance, and maintain effective security processes throughout the global supply chain.

 

Cooperation with Customers and Trade Associations – Through TransCAER (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response), we work with the AAR, the American Chemistry Council, the American Petroleum Institute, and other chemical trade groups to provide communities with preparedness tools, including the training of emergency responders. In cooperation with the FRA and other interested groups, we are also working to develop additional improvements to tank car design that will further limit the risk of releases of hazardous materials.

 

Sustainable Future – Union Pacific believes it is important that we act as environmental stewards, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and supporting the transition to a more sustainable future. While we work to further reduce our environmental footprint, it is important to note that railroads already are one of the most fuel-efficient means of transportation. Freight rail leads other forms of surface transportation when it comes to minimizing GHG emissions, and we expect rail will continue to play a critical role in mitigating and abating the impacts of climate change. According to the AAR, moving freight by rail instead of truck reduces GHG emissions by up to 75%. Therefore, converting freight transportation from truck to rail typically results in an immediate reduction in our customers' scope 3 GHG emissions.

 

Competition – see “We Face Competition from Other Railroads and Other Transportation Providers” in the Risk Factors in Item 1A of this report.

 

Key Suppliers – see “We Are Dependent on Certain Key Suppliers of Locomotives and Rail” in the Risk Factors in Item 1A of this report.

 

Available Information – Our Internet website is www.up.com. We make available free of charge on our website (under the “Investors” caption link) our Annual Reports on Form 10-K; our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q; our current reports on Form 8-K; our proxy statements; Forms 3, 4, and 5, filed on behalf of our directors and certain executive officers; and amendments to such reports filed or furnished pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act). We provide these reports and statements as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with, or furnished to, the SEC. We also make available on our website previously filed SEC reports and exhibits via a link to EDGAR on the SEC’s Internet site at www.sec.gov. Additionally, our corporate governance materials, including By-Laws, Board Committee charters, governance guidelines and policies, and codes of conduct and ethics for directors, officers, and employees are available on our website. From time to time, the corporate governance materials on our website may be updated as necessary to comply with rules issued by the SEC and the NYSE or as desirable to promote the effective and efficient governance of our Company. Any security holder wishing to receive, without charge, a copy of any of our SEC filings or corporate governance materials should send a written request to: Secretary, Union Pacific Corporation, 1400 Douglas Street, Omaha, NE 68179.

 

 

References to our website address, in this report, including references in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, Item 7, are provided as a convenience and do not constitute, and should not be deemed, an incorporation by reference of the information contained on, or available through, the website. Therefore, such information should not be considered part of this report.

 

GOVERNMENTAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION

 

Governmental Regulation – Our operations are subject to a variety of federal, state, and local regulations, generally applicable to all businesses. (See also the discussion of certain regulatory proceedings in Legal Proceedings, Item 3.)

 

The operations of the Railroad are subject to the regulations of the FRA and other federal and state agencies as well as the regulatory jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board (STB). The STB has jurisdiction over rates charged on certain regulated rail traffic; common carrier service of regulated traffic; freight car compensation; transfer, extension, or abandonment of rail lines; and acquisition of control of rail common carriers. The STB continues its efforts to explore expanding rail regulation and is reviewing proposed rulemaking in various areas, including reciprocal switching and commodity exemptions, and has finalized rules creating new procedures for smaller rate complaints that are being reviewed in appellate courts. The STB also continues to explore changes to the methodology for determining railroad revenue adequacy, the possible uses of revenue adequacy in regulating railroad rates, and ways to regulate service, including by use of emergency service orders. The STB posts quarterly reports on rate reasonableness cases, maintains a database on service complaints, and has the authority to initiate investigations, among other things.

 

DOT, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, and DHS, along with other federal agencies, have jurisdiction over certain aspects of safety, movement of hazardous materials and hazardous waste, emissions requirements, and equipment standards. Additionally, various state and local agencies have jurisdiction over disposal of hazardous waste and seek to regulate movement of hazardous materials in ways not preempted by federal law.

 

Environmental Regulation – We are subject to extensive federal and state environmental statutes and regulations pertaining to public health and the environment. The statutes and regulations are administered and monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and by various state environmental agencies, such as the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), among others. The primary laws affecting our operations are the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, regulating the management and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes; the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, regulating the cleanup of contaminated properties; the Clean Air Act, regulating air emissions; and the Clean Water Act, regulating wastewater discharges.

 

Information concerning environmental claims and contingencies and estimated remediation costs is set forth in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Critical Accounting Estimates - Environmental, Item 7, and Note 17 to the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, Item 8.

 

Item 1A. Risk Factors

 

The following discussion addresses significant factors, events, and uncertainties that make an investment in our securities risky and provides important information for the understanding of our “forward-looking statements,” which are discussed immediately preceding Item 7A of this Form 10-K and elsewhere. The risk factors set forth in this Item 1A should be read in conjunction with the rest of the information included in this report, including Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, Item 7, and Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, Item 8.

 

We urge you to consider carefully the factors described below and the risks that they present for our operations as well as the risks addressed in other reports and materials that we file with the SEC and the other information included or incorporated by reference in this Form 10-K. When the factors, events, and contingencies described below or elsewhere in this Form 10-K materialize, our business, reputation, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, or prospects can be materially adversely affected. In such case, the trading price of our common stock could decline and you could lose part or all of your investment. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem immaterial may also materially adversely affect our business, reputation, financial condition, results of operations, cash flows, and prospects.

 

 

Strategic and Operational Risks

 

We Must Manage Fluctuating Demand for Our Services and Network Capacity – Significant reductions in demand for rail services with respect to one or more commodities or changes in consumer preferences that affect the businesses of our customers can lead to increased costs associated with resizing our operations, including higher unit operating costs and costs for the storage of locomotives, rail cars, and other equipment; workforce adjustments; and other related activities, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. If there is significant demand for our services that exceeds the designed capacity of our network or shifts in traffic flow that are contrary to the designed capacity of our network, we may experience network difficulties, including congestion and reduced velocity, that could compromise the level of service we provide to our customers. This level of demand also may compound the impact of weather and weather-related events on our operations and velocity. Although we continue to work to improve our transportation plan, add capacity, improve operations at our yards and other facilities, and improve our ability to address surges in demand for any reason by carrying a resource buffer, we cannot be sure that these measures will fully or adequately address any service shortcomings resulting from demand exceeding our planned capacity. We may experience other operational or service difficulties related to network capacity, dramatic and unplanned fluctuations in our customers’ demand for rail service with respect to one or more commodities or operating regions, or other events that could negatively impact our operational efficiency, which could all have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity.

 

We Transport Hazardous Materials – We transport certain hazardous materials and other materials, including crude oil, ethanol, and toxic inhalation hazard (TIH) materials, such as chlorine, that pose certain risks in the event of a release or combustion. Additionally, U.S. laws impose common carrier obligations on railroads that require us to transport certain hazardous materials regardless of risk or potential exposure to loss. A rail accident or other incident or accident on our network, at our facilities, or at the facilities of our customers involving the release or combustion of hazardous materials could involve significant costs and claims for personal injury, property damage, and environmental penalties and remediation in excess of our insurance coverage for these risks, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity.

 

We Rely on Technology and Technology Improvements in Our Business Operations – We rely on information technology in all aspects of our business, including technology systems operated by us or under control of third-parties. If we do not have sufficient capital or do not deploy sufficient capital in a timely manner to acquire, develop, or implement new technology or maintain or upgrade current systems, such as Positive Train Control (PTC) or the latest version of our transportation control systems, we may suffer a rail service outage or competitive disadvantage within the rail industry and with companies providing other modes of transportation service, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity.

 

We Are Subject to Cybersecurity Risks – We rely on information technology in all aspects of our business, including technology systems operated by us (whether created by us or purchased), under control of third-parties, and open-source software. Although we devote significant resources to protect our technology systems and proprietary data, we have experienced and will likely continue to experience varying degrees of cyber incidents in the normal course of business. There can be no assurance that the systems we have designed to identify, prevent, or limit the effects of cyber incidents will be sufficient to prevent or detect such incidents, or to avoid a material adverse impact on our systems after such incidents do occur. Furthermore, due to the rising numbers and increasing sophistication of cyber-attacks, an increasingly complex information technology supply chain, and the nature of zero-day exploits, we may be unable to anticipate or implement adequate measures to prevent a security breach, including by ransomware or as a result of human error or other cyber-attack methods, from materially affecting our systems or the systems of third-parties upon which we rely. A cyber incident that results in significant service interruption; safety failure; other operational difficulties; unauthorized access to (or the loss of access to) competitively sensitive, confidential, or other critical data or systems; loss of customers; financial losses; regulatory fines; reputational harm; or misuse or corruption of critical data and proprietary information, could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. We may experience security breaches that could remain undetected for an extended period and, therefore, have a greater impact on us. Additionally, we may be exposed to increased cybersecurity risk because we are a component of the critical U.S. infrastructure.

 

 

Severe Weather Could Result in Significant Business Interruptions and Expenditures – As a railroad with a vast network, we are exposed to severe weather conditions and other natural phenomena, including earthquakes, hurricanes, fires, floods, mudslides or landslides, extreme temperatures, avalanches, and significant precipitation, and climate change may cause or contribute to the severity or frequency of such weather conditions. Line outages and other interruptions caused by these conditions has in the past and can in the future adversely affect parts or all of our entire rail network, potentially negatively affecting revenues, costs, and liabilities, despite efforts we undertake to plan for these events. Our revenues can also be adversely affected by severe weather that causes damage and disruptions to our customers. These impacts caused by severe weather could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity.

 

A Significant Portion of Our Revenues Involves Transportation of Commodities to and from International Markets – Although revenues from our operations are attributable to transportation services provided in the U.S., a significant portion of our revenues involves the transportation of commodities to and from international markets, including Mexico, Canada, and Southeast Asia, by various carriers and, at times, various modes of transportation. Significant and sustained interruptions of trade with Mexico, Canada, or countries in Southeast Asia, including China, could adversely affect customers and other entities that, directly or indirectly, purchase or rely on rail transportation services in the U.S. as part of their operations, and any such interruptions, including international armed conflicts such as the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. Any one or more of the following could cause a significant and sustained interruption of trade with Mexico, Canada, or countries in Southeast Asia: (a) a deterioration of security for international trade and businesses; (b) the adverse impact of new laws, rules, and regulations or the interpretation of laws, rules, and regulations by government entities, courts, or regulatory bodies, including the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) or other international trade agreements; (c) actions of taxing authorities that affect our customers doing business in foreign countries; (d) any significant adverse economic developments, such as extended periods of high inflation, material disruptions in the banking sector or in the capital markets of these foreign countries, and significant changes in the valuation of the currencies of these foreign countries that could materially affect the cost or value of imports or exports; (e) shifts in patterns of international trade that adversely affect import and export markets; (f) a material reduction in foreign direct investment in these countries; and (g) public health crises, including the outbreak of pandemic or contagious disease, such as the coronavirus and its variant strains (COVID).

 

We Are Dependent on Certain Key Suppliers of Locomotives and Rail – Due to the capital-intensive nature and sophistication of locomotive equipment, parts, and maintenance, potential new suppliers face high barriers to entry. Therefore, if one of the domestic suppliers of locomotives discontinues manufacturing locomotives, supplying parts, or providing maintenance for any reason, including bankruptcy or insolvency or the inability to manufacture locomotives that meet efficiency or regulatory emissions standards, we could experience significant cost increases and reduced availability of the locomotives that are necessary for our operations. Additionally, we utilize a limited number of steel producers that meet our specifications. Rail is critical to our operations for rail replacement programs, maintenance, and for adding additional network capacity, new rail and storage yards, and expansions of existing facilities. This industry similarly has high barriers to entry, and if one of these suppliers discontinues operations for any reason, including bankruptcy or insolvency, we could experience both significant cost increases for rail purchases and difficulty obtaining sufficient rail for maintenance and other projects. Changes to trade agreements or policies that result in increased tariffs on goods imported into the United States could also result in significant cost increases for rail purchases and difficulty obtaining sufficient rail.

 

Workforce Risks

 

Strikes or Work Stoppages Could Adversely Affect Our Operations – The U.S. Class I railroads are party to collective bargaining agreements with various labor unions. The majority of our employees belong to labor unions and are subject to these agreements. Disputes over the terms of these agreements or our potential inability to negotiate acceptable contracts with these unions can lead to, among other things, strikes, work stoppages, slowdowns, or lockouts, which could cause a significant disruption of our operations and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. Additionally, future national labor agreements, or renegotiation of labor agreements or provisions of labor agreements, could compromise our service reliability or significantly increase our costs for health care, wages, and other benefits, which could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. Labor disputes, work stoppages, slowdowns, or lockouts at loading/unloading facilities, ports, or other transport access points could compromise our service reliability and have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. Labor disputes, work stoppages, slowdowns, or lockouts by employees of our customers or our suppliers could compromise our service reliability and have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity.

 

 

The Availability of Qualified Personnel Could Adversely Affect Our Operations – Changes in demographics, training requirements, and pandemic illnesses or restrictions could negatively affect the availability of qualified personnel for us, our customers, and throughout the supply chain. Our ability to quickly react to other factors that affect our ability to attract and retain employees may be restricted due to limited flexibility to make unilateral changes to collective bargaining agreements, which cover the majority of our workforce. Unpredictable increases in demand for rail services and a lack of network fluidity may exacerbate our risks, which could have a negative impact on our operational efficiency and otherwise have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity.

 

Legal and Regulatory Risks

 

We Are Subject to Significant Governmental Regulation – We are subject to governmental regulation by a significant number of federal, state, and local authorities covering a variety of health, safety, labor, environmental, economic (as discussed below), tax, and other matters. Many laws and regulations require us to obtain and maintain various licenses, permits, and other authorizations, and we cannot guarantee that we will continue to be able to do so. Our failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on us. Governments or regulators may change the legislative or regulatory frameworks that we operate in without providing us any recourse to address any adverse effects on our business, including, without limitation, regulatory determinations or rules regarding dispute resolution, increasing the amount of our traffic subject to common carrier regulation, business relationships with other railroads, use of embargoes, calculation of our cost of capital or other inputs relevant to computing our revenue adequacy, the prices we charge, changes in tax rates, enactment of new tax laws, and revision in tax regulations. Significant legislative activity in Congress or regulatory activity by the STB could expand regulation of railroad operations and pricing for rail services, which could reduce capital spending on our rail network, facilities, and equipment, and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. 

 

We May Be Subject to Various Claims and Lawsuits That Could Result in Significant Expenditures – As a railroad with operations in densely populated urban areas and a vast rail network, we are exposed to the potential for various claims and litigation related to labor and employment, personal injury, property damage, environmental liability, and other matters. Any material changes to litigation trends or a catastrophic rail accident or series of accidents involving any or all of property damage, personal injury, and environmental liability that exceed our insurance coverage for such risks could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. In addition, some of these matters could impact the cost of obtaining, or availability in general, of insurance coverage meant to cover these types of risks.

 

We Are Subject to Significant Environmental Laws and Regulations – Due to the nature of the railroad business, our operations are subject to extensive federal, state, and local environmental laws and regulations concerning, among other things, emissions to the air; discharges to waters; handling, storage, transportation, and disposal of waste and other materials; and hazardous material or petroleum releases. We generate and transport hazardous and non-hazardous waste in our operations. Environmental liability can extend to previously owned or operated properties, leased properties, properties owned by third-parties, as well as properties we currently own. Environmental liabilities have arisen and may also arise from claims asserted by adjacent landowners or other third-parties in toxic tort litigation. We have been and may be subject to allegations or findings that we have violated, or are strictly liable under, these laws or regulations. We currently have certain obligations at existing sites for investigation, remediation, and monitoring, and we likely will have obligations at other sites in the future. We maintain adequate reserves for liabilities for these obligations, but fluctuations of potential costs affect our estimates based on our experience and, as necessary, the advice and assistance of our consultants. However, actual costs may vary from our estimates due to any or all of several factors, including changes to environmental laws or interpretations of such laws, technological changes affecting investigations and remediation, the participation and financial viability of other parties responsible for any such liability, and the corrective action or change to corrective actions required to remediate any existing or future sites. We could incur significant costs as a result of any of the foregoing, and we may be required to incur significant expenses to investigate and remediate known, unknown, or future environmental contamination, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity.

 

 

Macroeconomic and Industry Risks

 

We Face Competition from Other Railroads and Other Transportation Providers – We face competition from other railroads, motor carriers, ships, barges, and pipelines. Our main railroad competitor is Burlington Northern Santa Fe LLC. Its primary subsidiary, BNSF Railway Company (BNSF), operates parallel routes in many of our main traffic corridors. In addition, we operate in corridors served by other railroads and motor carriers. Motor carrier competition exists in all three of our commodity groups. Because of the proximity of our routes to major inland and Gulf Coast waterways, barges can be particularly competitive, especially for grain and bulk commodities in certain areas where we operate. In addition to price competition, we face competition with respect to transit times, quality, and reliability of service from motor carriers and other railroads. Motor carriers in particular can have an advantage over railroads with respect to transit times and timeliness of service. However, railroads are much more fuel-efficient than trucks, which reduces the impact of transporting goods on the environment and public infrastructure, and we have been making efforts to convert truck traffic to rail. Additionally, we must build or acquire and maintain our rail system, while trucks, barges, and maritime operators are able to use public rights-of-way maintained by public entities. Any of the following could also affect the competitiveness of our transportation services for some or all of our commodities, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity: (a) improvements or expenditures materially increasing the quality or reducing the costs of these alternative modes of transportation, such as autonomous or more fuel efficient trucks, (b) legislation that eliminates or significantly increases the size or weight limitations applied to motor carriers, or (c) legislation or regulatory changes that impose operating restrictions on railroads or that adversely affect the profitability of some or all railroad traffic. Many movements face product or geographic competition where our customers can use different products (e.g., natural gas instead of coal, sorghum instead of corn) or commodities from different locations (e.g., grain from states or countries that we do not serve, crude oil from different regions). Sourcing different commodities or different locations allows shippers to substitute different carriers and such competition may reduce our volume or constrain prices. Additionally, any future consolidation of the rail industry could materially affect our competitive environment.

 

We May Be Affected by Climate Change and Market or Regulatory Responses to Climate Change – Climate change, including the impact of global warming and transition risks involving policy, legal risks, and market risks, could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity over both a long-term and near-term basis. Restrictions, caps, taxes, or other controls on emissions of GHGs, including diesel exhaust, could significantly increase our operating costs. Restrictions on emissions could also affect our customers that (a) use commodities that we carry to produce energy, (b) use significant amounts of energy in producing or delivering the commodities we carry, or (c) manufacture or produce goods that consume significant amounts of energy or burn fossil fuels, including chemical producers, farmers and food producers, and automakers and other manufacturers. Significant cost increases, government regulation, or changes of consumer preferences for goods or services relating to alternative sources of energy, emissions reductions, and GHG emissions could materially affect the markets for the commodities we carry and demand for our services, which in turn could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. Government incentives encouraging the use of alternative sources of energy also could affect certain of our customers and the markets for certain of the commodities we carry in an unpredictable manner that could alter our traffic patterns, including, for example, increasing royalties charged to producers of PRB coal by the U.S. Department of Interior and the impacts of ethanol incentives on farming and ethanol producers. We could face increased costs related to defending and resolving legal claims and other litigation or complying with laws or regulations related to climate change and the alleged impact of our operations on climate change. Violent weather caused by climate change, including hurricanes, fires, floods, extreme temperatures, avalanches, and significant precipitation has in the past and could in the future cause line outages and other interruptions to our infrastructure. Any of these factors, individually or in operation with one or more of the other factors, or other unpredictable impacts of climate change could reduce the amount of traffic we handle and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. Our efforts to achieve emission reduction targets could significantly increase our operational costs and capital expenditures. In addition, stakeholder expectations regarding some of these matters may be evolving and there may be differing views among stakeholders, which could harm our reputation or increase our costs.

 

 

Our Business, Financial Condition, and Results of Operations have been Adversely Affected, and in the Future, Could be Materially Adversely Affected by Pandemics or Other Public Health Crises – Pandemics, epidemics, and other outbreaks of disease can have significant and widespread impacts. As we saw during the peaks of the COVID pandemic, outbreaks of disease can cause a global slowdown of economic activity (including the decrease in demand for a broad variety of goods), disruptions in global supply chains, and significant volatility and disruption of financial markets, resulting further in adverse effects on workforces, customers, and regional and local economies. The impact of pandemics or public health crises on our results of operations and financial condition may depend on numerous evolving factors, including, but not limited to: governmental, business, and individuals’ actions that have been and continue to be taken in response to a global pandemic or other public health crises (including restrictions on travel and transport, workforce pressures, social distancing, and shelter-in-place orders); the effect of a pandemic or other public health crises on economic activity and actions taken in response; the effect on our customers and their demand for our services; the effect of a pandemic or other public health crises on the credit-worthiness of our customers; national or global supply chain challenges or disruption; facility closures; commodity cost volatility; general macroeconomic uncertainty in key global markets and financial market volatility; global economic conditions and levels of economic growth; and the pace of recovery as the pandemic subsides as well as response to a potential reoccurrence. Further, a pandemic or other public health crises, and the volatile regional and global economic conditions stemming from such an event, could also precipitate and aggravate the other risk factors that we identify, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations (including revenues and profitability), and/or stock price. Additionally, a pandemic or other public health crises also may affect our operating and financial results in a manner that is not presently known to us or that we currently do not consider to present significant risks to our operations.

 

Financial Risks

 

We Are Affected By Fluctuating Fuel Prices – Fuel costs constitute a significant portion of our transportation expenses. Diesel fuel prices can be subject to dramatic fluctuations, and significant price increases could have a material adverse effect on our operating results. Although we currently are able to recover a significant amount of our fuel expenses from our customers through revenues from fuel surcharges, we cannot be certain that we will always be able to mitigate rising or elevated fuel costs through our fuel surcharges. Additionally, future market conditions or legislative or regulatory activities could adversely affect our ability to apply fuel surcharges or adequately recover increased fuel costs through fuel surcharges. As fuel prices fluctuate, our fuel surcharge programs trail such fluctuations in fuel prices by approximately two months, and may be a significant source of quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year volatility, particularly in periods of rapidly changing prices. International, political, and economic factors, events and conditions, including international armed conflicts such as the Russia-Ukraine and Israel-Hamas wars, affect the volatility of fuel prices and supplies. Weather can also affect fuel supplies and limit domestic refining capacity. A severe shortage of, or disruption to, domestic fuel supplies could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. Alternatively, lower fuel prices could have a positive impact on the economy by increasing consumer discretionary spending that potentially could increase demand for various consumer products we transport. However, lower fuel prices could have a negative impact on other commodities we transport, such as coal and domestic drilling-related shipments, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity.

 

We Rely on Capital Markets – Due to the significant capital expenditures required to operate and maintain a safe and efficient railroad, we rely on the capital markets to provide some of our capital requirements. We utilize long-term debt instruments, bank financing, and commercial paper, and we pledge certain amount of our receivables as collateral for credit. Significant instability or disruptions of the capital markets, including, among other things, elevated interest rates in the credit markets and/or changes in interest rates, or deterioration of our financial condition due to internal or external factors could restrict or prohibit our access to, and significantly increase the cost of, commercial paper and other financing sources, including bank credit facilities and the issuance of long-term debt, including corporate bonds. A significant deterioration of our financial condition could result in a reduction of our credit rating to below investment grade, which could restrict us from utilizing our current receivables securitization facility (Receivables Facility). This may also limit our access to external sources of capital and significantly increase the costs of short and long-term debt financing.

 

General Risk Factors

 

We Are Affected by General Economic Conditions – Prolonged, severe adverse domestic and global macroeconomic conditions or disruptions of financial and credit markets, including, for example, the recessionary fears, inflationary pressures, and elevated interest rates we are seeing in the current economic environment, may affect the producers and consumers of the commodities we carry and may have a material adverse effect on our access to liquidity, results of operations, and financial condition.

 

 

We May Be Affected by Acts of Terrorism, War, or Risk of War – Our rail lines, facilities, and equipment, including rail cars carrying hazardous materials, could be direct targets or indirect casualties of terrorist attacks. Terrorist attacks, or other similar events, any government response thereto, and war or risk of war may adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. In addition, insurance premiums for some or all of our current coverages could increase dramatically, or certain coverages may not be available to us in the future.

 

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments

 

None.

 

Item 1C. Cybersecurity

 

Risk Management and Strategy

 

The Company is subject to cybersecurity threats that could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity. See also our discussion in the Risk Factors in Item 1A of this report. As a component of our Company-wide enterprise risk management framework, we implemented a cybersecurity program whose objective is to assess, identify, and manage risks from cybersecurity threats that may result in adverse effects on the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of the electronic information systems that we own. We regularly perform internal security assessments, engage third-party consultants to conduct external security assessments, and participate in, conduct, and/or administer exercises, drills, and recovery tests as part of this program. We also maintain training programs and policies and procedures designed to safeguard employee handling and use of data, internet usage, controlled access measures, and physical protections. We consult with industry groups, monitor threat intelligence reports, and communicate with various government agencies in an effort to stay up-to-date on changes in the cybersecurity threat landscape. This program, in addition to addressing our own information systems, is also designed to oversee, identify, and reduce the potential impact of a security incident at a third-party service provider or that otherwise impacts third-party technology and systems we use.

 

Internal Cybersecurity Team

 

The Company’s internal information security organization (Internal Cybersecurity Team), led by our Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer (CIO) as well as the Assistant Vice President and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), is responsible for coordinating all aspects of the Company’s electronic information security systems, including prevention, detection, mitigation, and remediation of cybersecurity incidents, as well as implementing, monitoring, and maintaining our enterprise-wide security strategy, standards, architecture, policies, and processes. Our CIO reports directly to our Chief Executive Officer, our CISO reports to our CIO, and reporting to our CISO are our Deputy Chief Information Security Officer (Deputy CISO) and other experienced information security personnel responsible for various parts of our business. In addition to our internal cybersecurity capabilities, we also periodically engage assessors, consultants, auditors, and other third parties to assist with assessing, identifying, and managing cybersecurity risks. When the Company learns of a cybersecurity incident at a third-party service provider, the Company’s respective department contacts maintain communication with the third-party service provider and communicate any cybersecurity incidents to the CISO.

 

Security Policy and Requirements

 

As part of the Company’s Crisis Management Plan, the Company's cybersecurity Incident Response Plan (the IRP) provides a framework for responding to cybersecurity incidents. The IRP sets out a coordinated approach to discovering, investigating, containing, tracking, mitigating, and remediating cybersecurity incidents, including a framework for elevating and reporting findings and keeping senior management and other key stakeholders informed and involved, based on assessments regarding the scope or significance of incidents. The IRP applies to the Company’s extended computing environment, including electronic information resources that are owned or used by the Company and are routinely relied on to support our operations.

 

The Internal Cybersecurity Team has robust processes and redundancies in place designed with the objective of deterring, detecting, mitigating, and responding to potential cybersecurity threats, which includes a vulnerability assessment, prioritization, and remediation program. The Internal Cybersecurity Team also performs regular system penetration testing to validate our security controls and assess our infrastructure and applications. All management employees take mandatory periodic security awareness training on the Company’s data security policies and procedures, which is supplemented by Company-wide testing initiatives, including periodic phishing tests. Additionally, in 2023, our Board of Directors and certain management employees participated in a tabletop exercise to simulate a response to a cybersecurity incident, and our Internal Cybersecurity Team incorporated the findings from this exercise into our processes. 

 

16

 

Our information security program is designed to align our defenses and resources to identify, assess, and address more likely and more damaging cyber events, to provide support for our organizational mission and operational objectives, and to position us to deter, detect, mitigate, and respond to a wide variety of potential attacks in a timely fashion. Our information security program employs quantitative and qualitative approaches to evaluate the effectiveness of controls and assess the resiliency of critical computing resources. This data is combined with knowledge of common attack techniques to assess the likelihood of components being compromised and assess potential financial implications under different scenarios. The results are used to help identify potentially material risks and provide insights which are taken into account when prioritizing our security initiatives.

 

Material Cybersecurity Risks, Threats, and Incidents

 

Due to the evolving nature of cybersecurity threats, it has and will continue to be difficult to prevent, detect, mitigate, and remediate cybersecurity incidents. While we are not aware of having experienced any material effects or reasonably likely material effects on our Company, its business strategy, results of operations, or financial condition resulting from cybersecurity threats or incidents to date, as a critical infrastructure provider, we may be a target of well-funded and sophisticated adverse actors. There can be no guarantee that we will not be the subject of future risks or incidents that have such an effect, or that we are not currently the subject of an undetected risk or incident that may have such an effect.

 

We also rely on information technology and third-party vendors to support our operations, including our secure processing of personal, confidential, sensitive, proprietary, and other types of information. Despite ongoing efforts to continue improvement of our and our vendors’ ability to protect against cyber incidents, we may not be able to protect all of the information systems we use. Incidents may lead to reputational harm, revenue and client loss, legal actions, or statutory penalties, among other consequences. For a more detailed discussion of these risks, see our discussion in the Risk Factors in Item 1A of this report.

 

Governance

 

The Board of Directors has delegated primary oversight of the Company’s cybersecurity risk to the Audit Committee, which receives updates on cybersecurity risks and incidents at each regularly scheduled Audit Committee meeting from the CIO, CISO, and other members of management, as needed. When making decisions regarding director appointments and committee assignments, the Board of Directors takes into consideration the cybersecurity experience of directors and director candidates and strives to maintain cybersecurity expertise on the Board of Directors and Audit Committee. We have protocols by which certain cybersecurity incidents are reported to the Audit Committee and Board of Directors.

 

At the management level, our CIO, CISO, and Deputy CISO, each of whom has extensive cybersecurity knowledge and skills gained from over 27 years, 28 years, and 19 years of relevant work experience, respectively, head the Internal Cybersecurity Team that is responsible for implementing and maintaining cybersecurity and data protection practices across our business, with our CIO reporting directly to our Chief Executive Officer. In 2023, our CIO was appointed to serve as a member of the U.S. Cybersecurity Advisory Committee (CSAC) of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), which provides recommendations to CISA on a range of cybersecurity issues, including corporate cyber responsibility, technology product safety, and efforts to raise the baseline of cybersecurity practices for a variety of entities to enhance the United States’ cyber defense. Our CISO and Deputy CISO receive reports on cybersecurity threats from a number of experienced information security professionals for various parts of our business on an ongoing basis and, in conjunction with other management personnel, regularly consult on risk management measures implemented by the Company to identify and mitigate data protection and cybersecurity risks.

 

In addition, our Risk and Compliance Committee (RCC) is responsible for oversight and support of the Company’s Enterprise Risk Management and Compliance and Ethics programs and is comprised of the Executive Leadership Team and the Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting, Risk, and Compliance Officer (Compliance Officer). The RCC also created a subcommittee, the Enterprise Risk Management Committee (ERMC), who is charged with continually monitoring, evaluating, and managing enterprise risks. The ERMC includes the Compliance Officer, General Auditor, Vice President Law - Finance and Compliance, Vice President and Chief Safety Officer, CISO, and Assistant Vice President - Corporate Strategy. The RCC and ERMC both meet throughout the year and receive periodic updates on cybersecurity from the CISO and Deputy CISO.

 

17

 

Item 2. Properties

 

We employ a variety of assets in the management and operation of our rail business. Our rail network covers 23 states in the western two-thirds of the U.S.

 

upannualreportsystemmap01.jpg

 

TRACK

 

Our rail network includes 32,693 route miles. We own 26,110 miles and operate on the remainder pursuant to trackage rights or leases. The following table describes track miles:

 

As of December 31,

    2023       2022  

Route

    32,693       32,534  

Other main line

    7,117       7,113  

Passing lines and turnouts

    3,466       3,454  

Switching and classification yard lines

    8,852       8,853  

Total miles

    52,128       51,954  

 

HEADQUARTERS BUILDING

 

We own our headquarters building in Omaha, Nebraska. The facility has 1.2 million square feet of space that can accommodate approximately 4,000 employees.

 

 

HARRIMAN DISPATCHING CENTER

 

The Harriman Dispatching Center (HDC), located in Omaha, Nebraska, is our primary dispatching facility. It is linked to regional dispatching and locomotive management facilities at various locations along our network. HDC employees coordinate moves of locomotives and trains, manage traffic and train crews on our network, and coordinate interchanges with other railroads. Generally, around 500 employees work on-site in the facility. In the event of a disruption of operations at HDC due to a cyber-attack, flooding or severe weather, pandemic outbreak, or other event, we maintain the capability to conduct critical operations at back-up facilities in different locations.

 

RAIL FACILITIES

 

In addition to our track structure, we operate numerous facilities, including terminals for intermodal and other freight; rail yards for building trains (classification yards), switching, storage-in-transit (the temporary storage of customer goods in rail cars prior to shipment), and other activities; offices to administer and manage our operations; dispatching centers to direct traffic on our rail network; crew on duty locations for train crews along our network; and shops and other facilities for fueling, maintenance, and repair of locomotives and repair and maintenance of rail cars and other equipment. The following table includes the major yards and terminals on our system:

 

Major Classification Yards

Major Intermodal Terminals

North Platte, Nebraska

Joliet (Global 4), Illinois

Englewood (Houston), Texas

Global II (Chicago), Illinois

North Little Rock, Arkansas

East Los Angeles, California

Livonia, Louisiana

ICTF (Long Beach), California

Fort Worth, Texas

Mesquite, Texas

Roseville, California

Lathrop, California

Houston, Texas

City of Industry, California

West Colton, California

Salt Lake City, Utah

 

RAIL EQUIPMENT

 

Our equipment includes owned and leased locomotives and rail cars; heavy maintenance equipment and machinery; other equipment and tools in our shops, offices, and facilities; and vehicles for maintenance, transportation of crews, and other activities. As of December 31, 2023, we owned or leased the following units of equipment:

 

                           

Average

 

Locomotives

 

Owned

   

Leased

   

Total

   

Age (yrs.)

 

Multiple purpose

    5,971       1,037       7,008       24.3  

Switching

    132       -       132       43.5  

Other

    14       -       14       51.2  

Total locomotives

    6,117       1,037       7,154       N/A  

 

                           

Average

 

Freight cars

 

Owned

   

Leased

   

Total

   

Age (yrs.)

 

Covered hoppers

    13,761       9,474       23,235       21.3  

Open hoppers

    4,846       775       5,621       36.4  

Gondolas

    6,396       4,492       10,888       23.1  

Boxcars

    3,389       7,572       10,961       32.7  

Refrigerated cars

    2,444       1,199       3,643       21.8  

Flat cars

    2,216       2,254       4,470       32.6  

Other

   
-
      371       371       35.2  

Total freight cars

   
33,052
      26,137       59,189       N/A  

 

                           

Average

 

Highway revenue equipment

 

Owned

   

Leased

   

Total

   

Age (yrs.)

 

Containers

    47,439       545       47,984       12.2  

Chassis

    30,635       17,705       48,340       13.2  

Total highway revenue equipment

    78,074       18,250       96,324       N/A  

 

 

We continuously assess our need for equipment to run an efficient and reliable network. Many factors cause us to adjust the size of our active fleets, including changes in carload volume, weather events, seasonality, customer preferences, and operational efficiency initiatives. As some of these factors are difficult to assess or can change rapidly, we maintain a buffer to remain agile. Without the surge fleet, our ability to react quickly is hindered as equipment suppliers are limited and lead times to acquire equipment are long and may be in excess of a year. We believe our locomotive and freight car fleets are appropriately sized to meet our current and future business requirements. These fleets serve as the most reliable and efficient equipment to facilitate growth without additional acquisitions. Locomotive and freight car in service utilization percentages for the year ended December 31, 2023, were 69% and 74%, respectively.

 

CAPITAL EXPENDITURES

 

Our rail network requires significant annual capital investments for replacement, improvement, and expansion. These investments enhance safety, support the transportation needs of our customers, improve our operational efficiency, and support emission reduction initiatives. Additionally, we add new equipment to our fleet to replace older equipment and to support growth and customer demand.

 

2023 Capital Program – During 2023, our capital program totaled approximately $3.7 billion. (See the cash capital investments table in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources, Item 7, of this report.)

 

2024 Capital Plan – In 2024, we expect our capital plan to be approximately $3.4 billion, down 8% from 2023. (See further discussion of our 2024 capital plan in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Liquidity and Capital Resources, Item 7, of this report.)

 

OTHER

 

Equipment Encumbrances – See Note 14 and 16 to the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, Item 8.

 

Environmental Matters – Certain of our properties are subject to federal, state, and local laws and regulations governing the protection of the environment. (See discussion within this report of environmental issues in Business - Governmental and Environmental Regulation, Item 1; Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Critical Accounting Estimates - Environmental, Item 7; and Note 17 to the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, Item 8.)

 

Item 3. Legal Proceedings

 

From time to time, we are involved in legal proceedings, claims, and litigation that occur in connection with our business. We routinely assess our liabilities and contingencies in connection with these matters based upon the latest available information and, when necessary, we seek input from our third-party advisors when making these assessments. Consistent with SEC rules and requirements, we describe below material pending legal proceedings (other than ordinary routine litigation incidental to our business), material proceedings known to be contemplated by governmental authorities, other proceedings arising under federal, state, or local environmental laws and regulations (including governmental proceedings involving potential fines, penalties, or other monetary sanctions in excess of $1,000,000), and such other pending matters that we may determine to be appropriate.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL MATTERS

 

We receive notices from the EPA and state environmental agencies alleging that we are or may be liable under federal or state environmental laws for remediation costs at various sites throughout the U.S., including sites on the Superfund National Priorities List or state superfund lists. We cannot predict the ultimate impact of these proceedings and suits because of the number of potentially responsible parties involved, the degree of contamination by various wastes, the scarcity and quality of volumetric data related to many of the sites, and the speculative nature of remediation costs.

 

Information concerning environmental claims and contingencies and estimated remediation costs is set forth in this report in Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations - Critical Accounting Estimates - Environmental, Item 7, and Note 17 to the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, Item 8.

 

 

OTHER MATTERS

 

Antitrust Litigation – As we reported in our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2007, 20 rail shippers (many of whom were represented by the same law firms) filed virtually identical antitrust lawsuits in various federal district courts against us and four other Class I railroads in the U.S. Currently, UPRR and three other Class I railroads are the named defendants in the lawsuits. The original plaintiff filed the first of these claims in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey on May 14, 2007. These suits alleged that the named railroads engaged in price-fixing by establishing common fuel surcharges for certain rail traffic.

 

On August 16, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) affirmed the decision of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (U.S. District Court) denying class certification (the Certification Denial). Only five plaintiffs remain in this multidistrict litigation (MDL) originally filed in 2007, which remains pending. They are proceeding on a consolidated basis in the U.S. District Court before the Honorable Paul L. Friedman (MDL I). Since the Certification Denial, approximately 106 lawsuits are pending in federal court based on claims identical to those alleged in the class certification case. The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated these suits for pretrial proceedings in the U.S. District Court before the Honorable Beryl A. Howell (MDL II).

 

As we reported in our Current Report on Form 8-K, filed on June 10, 2011, the Railroad received a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on June 7, 2011, by Oxbow Carbon & Minerals LLC and related entities (Oxbow). In 2019, Oxbow dismissed certain claims and the claims that remain are the same as the Plaintiffs’ claims in MDL I.

 

We continue to deny the allegations that our fuel surcharge programs violate the antitrust laws or any other laws. We believe that these lawsuits are without merit, and we will vigorously defend our actions. Therefore, we currently believe that these matters will not have a material adverse effect on any of our results of operations, financial condition, and liquidity.

 

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures

 

Not applicable. 

 

 

Information About Our Executive Officers and Principal Executive Officers of Our Subsidiaries

 

The Board of Directors typically elects and designates our executive officers on an annual basis at the board meeting held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of Shareholders, and they hold office until their successors are elected. Executive officers also may be elected and designated throughout the year, as the Board of Directors considers appropriate. There are no family relationships among the officers, nor is there any arrangement or understanding between any officer and any other person pursuant to officer selection. The following table sets forth certain information current as of February 9, 2024, relating to the executive officers.

 

     

Business

     

Experience During

Name

Position

Age

Past Five Years

V. James Vena

Chief Executive Officer of UPC and the Railroad

65

[1]

Elizabeth F. Whited President of UPC and the Railroad 58 [2]

Jennifer L. Hamann

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of UPC and the Railroad

56

[3]

Eric J. Gehringer Executive Vice President - Operations of the Railroad 44 [4]
Rahul Jalali Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of UPC and the Railroad 50 [5]

Craig V. Richardson

Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary of UPC and the Railroad

62

[6]

Kenny G. Rocker

Executive Vice President - Marketing and Sales of the Railroad

52

Current Position

Todd M. Rynaski

Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting, Risk, and Compliance Officer of UPC and the Railroad

53

[7]

 

[1] Mr. Vena was elected Chief Executive Officer of UPC and the Railroad effective August 14, 2023. He previously served as a Senior Advisor to the Chairman of UPC (January 2021 - June 2021) and Chief Operating Officer (January 2019 - December 2020).
[2] Ms. Whited was elected President of UPC and the Railroad effective August 14, 2023. Ms. Whited most recently served as Executive Vice President - Sustainability and Strategy of UPC and the Railroad (February 2022 - August 2023). She previously served as Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer (August 2018 - February 2022).

[3]

Ms. Hamann was elected Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of UPC and the Railroad effective January 1, 2020. She previously served as Senior Vice President - Finance (April 2019 - December 2019) and Vice President - Planning & Analysis (October 2017 - March 2019).

[4] Mr. Gehringer was elected Executive Vice President - Operations of the Railroad effective January 1, 2021. Mr. Gehringer previously served as Senior Vice President - Transportation (July 2020 - December 2020), Vice President - Mechanical and Engineering (January 2020 - July 2020), and Vice President - Engineering (March 2018 - January 2020).
[5] Mr. Jalali was elected Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer of UPC and the Railroad effective June 1, 2023. Mr. Jalali most recently served as Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer (November 2020 - May 2023).

[6]

Mr. Richardson was elected Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary of UPC and the Railroad effective December 8, 2020. He most recently served as Interim Executive Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary of UPC and the Railroad (September 2020 - November 2020) and Vice President - Commercial and Regulatory Law (July 2018 - August 2020).

[7] Mr. Rynaski was elected Senior Vice President and Chief Accounting, Risk, and Compliance Officer of UPC and the Railroad effective July 1, 2022. Mr. Rynaski previously served as Vice President and Controller (September 2015 - June 2022).

 

 

PART II

 

Item 5. Market for the Registrants Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters, and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

 

Our common stock is traded on the NYSE under the symbol “UNP”.

 

At February 2, 2024, there were 609,777,914 shares of common stock outstanding and 27,949 common shareholders of record. On that date, the closing price of the common stock on the NYSE was $248.33. We paid dividends to our common shareholders during each of the past 124 years.

 

Comparison Over One- and Three-Year Periods – The following table presents the cumulative total shareholder returns, assuming reinvestment of dividends, over one- and three-year periods for the Corporation (UNP), a peer group index (comprised of CSX Corporation and Norfolk Southern Corporation), the Dow Jones Transportation Index (DJ Trans), and the Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index (S&P 500).

 

Period

 

UNP

   

Peer Group

   

DJ Trans

   

S&P 500

 

1 Year (2023)

    21.5

%

    6.9

%

    20.4

%

    26.3

%

3 Year (2021 - 2023)

    26.0 %     12.9 %     32.1 %     33.0 %

 

Five-Year Performance Comparison – The following graph provides an indicator of cumulative total shareholder returns for the Corporation as compared to the peer group index (described above), the DJ Trans, and the S&P 500. The graph assumes that $100 was invested in the common stock of Union Pacific Corporation and each index on December 31, 2018, and that all dividends were reinvested. The information below is historical in nature and is not necessarily indicative of future performance.

 

stockperformance600pxv2a.jpg

 

 

Purchases of Equity Securities – During 2023, we repurchased 3,657,484 shares of our common stock at an average price of $202.67. The following table presents common stock repurchases during each month for the fourth quarter of 2023:

 

Period

  Total Number of Shares Purchased [a]     Average Price Paid Per Share     Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of a Publicly Announced Plan or Program     Maximum Number of Shares Remaining Under the Plan or Program [b]  

Oct. 1 through Oct. 31

    166     $ 222.76       -       80,392,027  

Nov. 1 through Nov. 30

    3,069       219.57       -       80,392,027  

Dec. 1 through Dec. 31

    3,573       235.05       -       80,392,027  

Total

    6,808     $ 227.77       -       N/A  

 

[a]

Total number of shares purchased during the quarter includes approximately 6,808 shares delivered or attested to UPC by employees to pay stock option exercise prices, satisfy excess tax withholding obligations for stock option exercises or vesting of retention units, and pay withholding obligations for vesting of retention shares.

[b]

Effective April 1, 2022, our Board of Directors authorized the repurchase of up to 100 million shares of our common stock by March 31, 2025, replacing our previous repurchase program. These repurchases may be made on the open market or through other transactions. Our management has sole discretion with respect to determining the timing and amount of these transactions.

 

Item 6. [Reserved]

 

Item 7. Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

 

The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and applicable notes to the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, Item 8, and other information in this report, including Risk Factors set forth in Item 1A and Critical Accounting Estimates and Cautionary Information at the end of this Item 7. The following section generally discusses 2023 and 2022 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2023 and 2022. Discussions of 2021 items and year-to-year comparisons between 2022 and 2021 that are not included in this Form 10-K can be found in “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in Part II, Item 7, of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.

 

The Railroad, along with its subsidiaries and rail affiliates, is our one reportable operating segment. Although we provide and analyze revenues by commodity group, we treat the financial results of the Railroad as one segment due to the integrated nature of our rail network.

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

2023 Results

 

Safety – We initiated changes to our safety program that focused on training, culture, and refreshing how teams communicate and look out for each other. An analysis of historical injury data identified a large portion of our reportable injuries involve a failure to comply with a small number of critical operating rules. These critical rules are the foundation of our new program that is being implemented. While our reportable personal injury incidents rate per 200,000 employee-hours deteriorated 4% from 2022, we improved in the latter part of the year.

 

We continued to refine our proprietary software called Precision Train Builder to evaluate train and route characteristics to enable proactive intervention by our Operating Practices Command Center to prevent derailments. In addition, the software allows the team to simulate in-train forces to avoid train handling that would generate forces greater than tolerance limits. These efforts helped to drive our reportable derailment incident rate per million train miles down 6% year-over-year.

 

Further supporting our efforts, in March, the AAR announced a set of key safety actions. These include the installation of additional hot wheel bearing wayside detectors and enhanced standards for how we proactively use and share critical data. In addition, the industry is expanding efforts in first responder training and deploying technology to provide real-time railcar condition monitoring.

 

Service Car trip plan compliance for both intermodal and manifest/automotive products improved compared to 2022. Throughout the year we improved network fluidity as reflected in faster freight car velocity and lower terminal dwell. We graduated over 1,900 train, engine, and yard employees to backfill attrition, cover absences resulting from recently negotiated sick leave benefits, and added employees in areas of critical need to address operational challenges and support our service product.

 

 

Operational Excellence The year began with weather disruptions across the network that impacted our operations. We deployed additional locomotives and aggressively hired train, engine, and yard employees to alleviate these operational challenges. Despite the challenges, we continued to focus on using our resources effectively and productively, which resulted in sequential improvement in many of our operating metrics.

 

Financial Results – Soft consumer markets, inflationary pressures, new labor agreements, fluctuating fuel prices, operational issues, and first quarter weather disruptions negatively impacted our financial results. Operating income of $9.1 billion declined 8% from 2022, and operating ratio was 62.3%, deteriorating 2.2 points from 2022. Net income of $6.4 billion translated into earnings of $10.45 per diluted share, down 7% from 2022.

 

Despite the challenging year, we generated $8.4 billion of cash provided by operating activities, yielded free cash flow of $1.5 billion after reductions of $3.7 billion for cash used in investing activities and $3.2 billion in dividends. Both cash provided by operating activities and free cash flow were lowered by $454 million of payments related to the 2022 one-time charge for agreements reached with our labor unions and the ratification charge for a crew staffing agreement reached in the second quarter of 2023.

 

Free cash flow is defined as cash provided by operating activities less cash used in investing activities and dividends paid. Free cash flow is not considered a financial measure under GAAP by SEC Regulation G and Item 10 of SEC Regulation S-K and may not be defined and calculated by other companies in the same manner. We believe free cash flow is important to management and investors in evaluating our financial performance and measures our ability to generate cash without additional external financing. Free cash flow should be considered in addition to, rather than as a substitute for, cash provided by operating activities. The following table reconciles cash provided by operating activities (GAAP measure) to free cash flow (non-GAAP measure):

 

Millions

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

 

Cash provided by operating activities

  $ 8,379     $ 9,362     $ 9,032  

Cash used in investing activities

    (3,667 )     (3,471 )     (2,709 )

Dividends paid

    (3,173 )     (3,159 )     (2,800 )

Free cash flow

  $ 1,539     $ 2,732     $ 3,523  

 

2024 Outlook

 

Safety – Our goal is to be an industry leader in safety. We plan to improve the safety culture through our Courage to Care program. Courage to Care is reflected in actions such as giving and receiving feedback on unsafe behavior, finding and eliminating risk, and improving the safety of the work environment, so that everyone returns home safely. An enhanced safety management program focused on the critical rules that most impact safety will be rolled out to all employees in 2024. In addition, train, engine, and yard employees will be expected to attend a full day safety training class to reinforce these critical rules. We will continue using a comprehensive safety management approach utilizing technology, hazard identification and risk assessments, employee engagement, training, quality control, and targeted capital investments. In addition, our Operating Practices Command Center will help position us to implement predictive technology to reduce variability by seeking to identify causes of mainline service interruptions and develop solutions in addition to assisting employees with understanding best practices for handling trains. We plan to utilize data to identify and mitigate exposure to risk, detect rail defects, improve or close crossings, and educate the public and law enforcement agencies about crossing safety through a combination of our own programs (including risk assessment strategies), industry programs, and local community activities across the network. Operating a safe railroad benefits all our stakeholders: employees, customers, shareholders, and the communities we serve, while protecting the environment for future generations.

 

Service – We are committed to delivering the service we sold to our customers. As we meet with customers to agree on their specific needs and outcomes, we will measure ourselves against the best service we provided them over the past three years and use that as a guide for meeting their expectations. We will engage with customers to understand how we win together.

 

Operational Excellence To provide our customers with the service we sold, we must run a fluid network. Network fluidity enables us to effectively utilize all our resources and provides the capacity to respond in an ever-changing environment. We will continue to transform our railroad to further improve our service product, improve resource utilization, and lower our overall cost structure.

 

 

Business Volumes – Macroeconomic uncertainties remain in 2024 that could have a material impact on our 2024 financial and operating results. Current forecasts for 2024 industrial production are flat versus 2023. In addition, other factors, such as changes in domestic and foreign monetary policy (including rising interest rates), may affect economic activity and demand for rail transportation; natural gas prices, weather conditions, and demand for other energy sources may impact the coal market; crude oil prices and spreads may drive demand for petroleum products and drilling materials; available truck capacity could impact our intermodal business; and international trade agreements could promote or hinder trade. Lower coal demand and some lost international intermodal business are expected to negatively impact volume. Fuel prices may continue to fluctuate in the current economic environment. As prices fluctuate, there will be a timing impact on earnings, as our fuel surcharge programs trail increases or decreases in fuel prices by approximately two months. Regardless of external factors, we will focus on operating a safe railroad and delivering the service we sold to our customers as well as effective asset utilization, cost control, and seeking new business opportunities.

 

RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

 

Operating Revenues

 

                           

% Change

   

% Change

 

Millions

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

    2023 v 2022     2022 v 2021  

Freight revenues

  $ 22,571     $ 23,159     $ 20,244       (3

)%

    14

%

Other subsidiary revenues

    872       884       741       (1 )     19  

Accessorial revenues

    584       779       752       (25 )     4  

Other

    92       53       67       74       (21 )

Total

  $ 24,119     $ 24,875     $ 21,804       (3

)%

    14

%

 

We generate freight revenues by transporting products from our three commodity groups. Freight revenues vary with volume (carloads) and average revenue per car (ARC). Changes in price, traffic mix, and fuel surcharges drive ARC. Customer incentives, which are primarily provided for shipping to/from specific locations or based on cumulative volumes, are recorded as a reduction to operating revenues. Customer incentives that include variable consideration based on cumulative volumes are estimated using the expected value method, which is based on available historical, current, and forecasted volumes, and recognized as the related performance obligation is satisfied. We recognize freight revenues over time as shipments move from origin to destination. The allocation of revenues between reporting periods is based on the relative transit time in each reporting period with expenses recognized as incurred.

 

Other subsidiary revenues (primarily logistics and commuter rail operations) are generally recognized over time as shipments move from origin to destination. The allocation of revenues between reporting periods is based on the relative transit time in each reporting period with expenses recognized as incurred. Accessorial revenues are recognized at a point in time as performance obligations are satisfied.

 

Freight revenues decreased 3% year-over-year to $22.6 billion driven by lower fuel surcharge revenues, negative mix of traffic (decreased lumber shipments and increased short haul rock shipments), and a 1% decrease in volume, partially offset by core pricing gains. Volume decreases were primarily driven by weaker demand for intermodal and coal shipments. These declines were partially offset by a domestic intermodal contract win, increased production and inventory replenishment in the automotive industry, growth in petroleum and LPG shipments, and strength in rock shipments.

 

Our fuel surcharge programs generated freight revenues of $3.0 billion and $3.7 billion in 2023 and 2022, respectively. Fuel surcharge revenues in 2023 decreased $0.7 billion due to a 15% decrease in fuel prices and lower volume, partially offset by the impact of fluctuating fuel prices (it can generally take up to two months for changing fuel prices to affect fuel surcharge recoveries).

 

In 2023, other subsidiary revenues decreased compared to 2022 primarily driven by weaker demand for intermodal shipments at our Loup subsidiary. Accessorial revenues decreased in 2023 compared to 2022 driven by decreased intermodal accessorial and container revenues due to lower volume and improvements in the global supply chain as reflected in better equipment cycle times. Other revenues increased year-over-year.

 

 

The following tables summarize the year-over-year changes in freight revenues, revenue carloads, and ARC by commodity type:

 

Freight Revenues

                         

% Change

   

% Change

 

Millions

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

    2023 v 2022     2022 v 2021  

Grain & grain products

  $ 3,644     $ 3,598     $ 3,181       1

%

    13

%

Fertilizer

    757       712       697       6       2  

Food & refrigerated

    1,041       1,093       998       (5 )     10  

Coal & renewables

    1,916       2,134       1,780       (10 )     20  

Bulk

    7,358       7,537       6,656       (2 )     13  

Industrial chemicals & plastics

    2,176       2,158       1,943       1       11  

Metals & minerals

    2,194       2,196       1,811       -       21  

Forest products

    1,347       1,465       1,357       (8 )     8  

Energy & specialized markets

    2,521       2,386       2,212       6       8  

Industrial

    8,238       8,205       7,323       -       12  

Automotive

    2,421       2,257       1,761       7       28  

Intermodal

    4,554       5,160       4,504       (12 )     15  

Premium

    6,975       7,417       6,265       (6 )     18  

Total

  $ 22,571     $ 23,159     $ 20,244       (3

)%

    14

%

 

Revenue Carloads

                         

% Change

   

% Change

 

Thousands

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

    2023 v 2022     2022 v 2021  

Grain & grain products

    798       798       805       -

%

    (1

)%

Fertilizer

    191       190       201       1       (5 )

Food & refrigerated

    175       187       189       (6 )     (1 )

Coal & renewables

    867       885       819       (2 )     8  

Bulk

    2,031       2,060       2,014       (1 )     2  

Industrial chemicals & plastics

    645       637       606       1       5  

Metals & minerals

    793       785       697       1       13  

Forest products

    213       241       250       (12 )     (4 )

Energy & specialized markets

    582       552       559       5       (1 )

Industrial

    2,233       2,215       2,112       1       5  

Automotive

    820       778       701       5       11  

Intermodal [a]

    3,028       3,116       3,211       (3 )     (3 )

Premium

    3,848       3,894       3,912       (1 )     -  

Total

    8,112       8,169       8,038       (1

)%

    2

%

 

                           

% Change

   

% Change

 

Average Revenue per Car

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

    2023 v 2022     2022 v 2021  

Grain & grain products

  $ 4,567     $ 4,509     $ 3,953       1

%

    14

%

Fertilizer

    3,962       3,749       3,470       6       8  

Food & refrigerated

    5,929       5,844       5,279       1       11  

Coal & renewables

    2,211       2,410       2,173       (8 )     11  

Bulk

    3,623       3,658       3,305       (1 )     11  

Industrial chemicals & plastics

    3,374       3,388       3,207       -       6  

Metals & minerals

    2,765       2,797       2,598       (1 )     8  

Forest products

    6,310       6,092       5,424       4       12  

Energy & specialized markets

    4,335       4,320       3,956       -       9  

Industrial

    3,689       3,704       3,467       -       7  

Automotive

    2,955       2,902       2,511       2       16  

Intermodal [a]

    1,504       1,656       1,403       (9 )     18  

Premium

    1,813       1,905       1,601       (5 )     19  

Average

  $ 2,782     $ 2,835     $ 2,519       (2

)%

    13

%

 

 

[a]

For intermodal shipments, each container or trailer equals one carload.

 

 

Bulk – Bulk includes shipments of grain and grain products, fertilizer, food and refrigerated, and coal and renewables. Freight revenues from bulk shipments decreased in 2023 compared to 2022 due to lower fuel surcharge revenues, lower volume, and negative mix from fewer food and refrigerated shipments, partially offset by core pricing gains. Volume declined 1% compared to 2022 driven by reduced use of coal in electricity generation because of low natural gas prices and mild winter weather in the second half of the year. Volume for coal and renewables and food and refrigerated shipments were negatively impacted by outages and service challenges due to repeated snow events in Wyoming and flooding in California in the first quarter of 2023.

 

2023 Bulk Carloads

piebulk300pxa.jpg

Industrial – Industrial includes shipments of industrial chemicals and plastics, metals and minerals, forest products, and energy and specialized markets. Freight revenues from industrial shipments increased slightly in 2023 versus 2022 due to core pricing gains and volume increases, offset by negative mix of traffic, driven by increased short haul rock shipments and decreased lumber shipments, and lower fuel surcharge revenues. Volume increased 1% compared to 2022. The growth was driven by petroleum and LPG shipments and metals and minerals due to strong demand for rock. Partially offsetting that growth were decreases in forest products due to the softening housing market and fewer shipments of brown paper as demand for non-durable goods declined.

 

2023 Industrial Carloads

pieindustrial300pxa.jpg
Premium – Premium includes shipments of finished automobiles, automotive parts, and merchandise in intermodal containers, both domestic and international. Freight revenues from premium shipments decreased driven by lower fuel surcharges and volume declines, partially offset by core pricing gains. Intermodal shipments declined 3% compared to 2022 as high inventories and inflationary pressures impacted consumer demand, partially offset by a domestic contract win. Despite the negative effects of the United Auto Workers strike, automotive shipments increased 5% compared to 2022 driven by increased production as dealers replenished inventories.

2023 Premium Carloads

piepremium300pxa.jpg

 

Mexico Business – Each of our commodity groups includes revenues from shipments to and from Mexico. Revenues from Mexico shipments were $2.8 billion in 2023, up 2% compared to 2022, driven by a 4% volume increase, partially offset by a 2% decrease in average revenue per car due to lower fuel surcharge revenues. The volume increase was driven by higher intermodal and automotive shipments, partially offset by fewer beer shipments. The closure of the Eagle Pass and El Paso border crossings in the fourth quarter had a slightly negative impact on the overall results.

 

 

Operating Expenses

 

                           

% Change

   

% Change

 

Millions

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

    2023 v 2022     2022 v 2021  

Compensation and benefits

  $ 4,818     $ 4,645     $ 4,158       4

%

    12

%

Fuel

    2,891       3,439       2,049       (16 )     68  

Purchased services and materials

    2,616       2,442       2,016       7       21  

Depreciation

    2,318       2,246       2,208       3       2  

Equipment and other rents

    947       898       859       5       5  

Other

    1,447       1,288       1,176       12       10  

Total

  $ 15,037     $ 14,958     $ 12,466       1

%

    20

%

 

Operating expenses increased $79 million, or 1%, in 2023 compared to 2022 driven by inflation; operational challenges in the first half of the year, including additional costs related to weather; increased workforce levels, including the impact of increased sick leave benefits provided to our craft professionals; higher casualty costs; and the ratification charge for a crew staffing agreement reached in the second quarter of 2023, partially offset by lower fuel prices, a one-time charge in 2022 for agreements reached with our labor unions, and volume related costs.  

2023 Operating Expenses

pieoperating300pxa.jpg

 

Compensation and Benefits – Compensation and benefits include wages, payroll taxes, health and welfare costs, pension costs, and incentive costs. In 2023, expenses increased 4% compared to 2022. The employee level increase of 3% includes a 4% increase in train, engine, and yard employees to backfill attrition, cover absences resulting from recent negotiated sick leave benefits, and add employees in areas of critical need to address operational challenges and support our service product. The wage growth, costs for training, and the ratification charge for a crew staffing agreement reached in the second quarter of 2023, partially offset by the 2022 one-time charge for agreements reached with our labor unions, lower incentive compensation, and lower volume drove the increase in compensation and benefits for 2023 compared to 2022.

 

Fuel – Fuel includes locomotive fuel and gasoline for highway and non-highway vehicles and heavy equipment. Fuel expense decreased compared to 2022 due to a decrease in locomotive diesel fuel prices, which averaged $3.09 per gallon (including taxes and transportation costs) in 2023 compared to $3.65 per gallon in 2022, resulting in a $0.5 billion decrease in expense (excluding any impact from decreased volume year-over-year), and a 1% decrease in gross ton-miles, partially offset by a 1% deterioration to the fuel consumption rate in 2023 (computed as gallons of fuel consumed divided by gross ton-miles).

 

Purchased Services and Materials – Expense for purchased services and materials includes the costs of services purchased from outside contractors and other service providers (including equipment maintenance and contract expenses incurred by our subsidiaries for external transportation services); materials used to maintain the Railroad’s lines, structures, and equipment; costs of operating facilities jointly used by UPRR and other railroads; transportation and lodging for train crew employees; trucking and contracting costs for intermodal containers; leased automobile maintenance expenses; and tools and supplies. Purchased services and materials increased 7% in 2023 compared to 2022 driven by higher locomotive maintenance expenses due to inflation, increased locomotive overhauls, and a larger active fleet in the first half of 2023 to assist in recovering the network, partially offset by decreased volume-related drayage costs incurred at one of our subsidiaries.

 

Depreciation – The majority of depreciation relates to road property, including rail, ties, ballast, and other track material. Depreciation expense was up 3% in 2023 compared to 2022 due to a higher depreciable asset base.

 

 

Equipment and Other Rents – Equipment and other rents expense primarily includes rental expense that the Railroad pays for freight cars owned by other railroads or private companies; freight car, intermodal, and locomotive leases; and office and other rent expenses, offset by equity income from certain equity method investments. Equipment and other rents expense increased 5% compared to 2022 due to lower equity income and inflation, partially offset by greater network fluidity and lower volume.

 

Other – Other expenses include state and local taxes; freight, equipment, and property damage; utilities; insurance; personal injury; environmental; employee travel; telephone and cellular; computer software; bad debt; and other general expenses. Other expenses increased 12% in 2023 compared to 2022 driven by casualty expenses, including higher personal injury expense, environmental remediation, and damaged freight, and one-time write-offs.

 

Non-Operating Items

 

                           

% Change

   

% Change

 

Millions

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

   

2023 v 2022

   

2022 v 2021

 

Other income, net

  $ 491     $ 426     $ 297       15

%

    43

%

Interest expense

    (1,340 )     (1,271 )     (1,157 )     5       10  

Income tax expense

  $ (1,854 )   $ (2,074 )   $ (1,955 )     (11 )%     6 %

 

Other Income, net – Other income increased in 2023 compared to 2022 driven by a one-time $107 million real estate transaction, partially offset by lower gains from real estate sales. Real estate sales in 2022 included a $79 million gain from a land sale to the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority and a $35 million gain from a land sale to the Colorado Department of Transportation. See Note 6 to the Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, Item 8, for additional detail.

 

Interest Expense – Interest expense increased in 2023 compared to 2022 due to an increased weighted-average debt level of $33.2 billion in 2023 from $32.1 billion in 2022. The effective interest rate was 4.0% in both periods.

 

Income Tax Expense – Income tax expense decreased in 2023 compared to 2022 due to lower pre-tax income and deferred tax expense reductions. In 2023, the states of Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Arkansas enacted legislation to reduce their corporate income tax rates for future years resulting in a $114 million reduction of our deferred tax expense. 2022 income tax expense included reductions of $95 million in deferred tax expense from Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, and Idaho reducing their corporate income tax rates. Our effective tax rates for 2023 and 2022 were 22.5% and 22.9%, respectively.

 

OTHER OPERATING/PERFORMANCE AND FINANCIAL STATISTICS

 

We report a number of key performance measures weekly to the STB. We provide this data on our website at www.up.com/investor/aar-stb_reports/index.htm.

 

Operating/Performance Statistics

 

Management continuously monitors these key operating metrics to evaluate our operational efficiency and help us deliver the service product we sold to our customers.

 

 

Railroad performance measures are included in the table below:

 

                           

% Change

     

% Change

   
   

2023

   

2022

   

2021

2023 v 2022

 

2022 v 2021

   

Gross ton-miles (GTMs) (billions)

    837.5       843.4       817.9       (1 )       3 %  

Revenue ton-miles (billions)

    413.3       420.8       411.3       (2 )       2    

Freight car velocity (daily miles per car) [a]

    204       191       203       7         (6 )  

Average train speed (miles per hour) [a]

    24.2       23.8       24.6       2         (3 )  

Average terminal dwell time (hours) [a]

    23.4       24.4       23.7       (4 )       3    

Locomotive productivity (GTMs per horsepower day)

129       125       133       3         (6 )  

Train length (feet)

    9,356       9,329       9,334       -         -    

Intermodal car trip plan compliance (%) [b]

    78       67       73       11  

pts

    (6 )

pts

Manifest/Automotive car trip plan compliance (%) [b]

65       59       63       6  

pts

    (4 )

pts

Workforce productivity (car miles per employee)

1,000       1,036       1,038       (3 )       -    

Total employees (average)

    31,490       30,717       29,905       3         3    

Operating ratio (%)

    62.3       60.1       57.2       2.2  

pts

    2.9  

pts

 

[a]

As reported to the STB.

[b] Methodology used to report (described below) is not comparable with the reporting to the STB under docket number EP 770.

 

Gross and Revenue Ton-Miles – Gross ton-miles are calculated by multiplying the weight of loaded and empty freight cars by the number of miles hauled. Revenue ton-miles are calculated by multiplying the weight of freight by the number of tariff miles. In 2023, gross ton-miles and revenue ton-miles decreased 1% and 2%, respectively, compared to 2022, driven by a 1% decrease in carloadings. Changes in commodity mix drove the variance in year-over-year decreases between gross ton-miles, revenue ton-miles, and carloads.

 

Freight Car Velocity – Freight car velocity measures the average daily miles per car on our network. The two key drivers of this metric are the speed of the train between terminals (average train speed) and the time a rail car spends at the terminals (average terminal dwell time). Freight car velocity, average train speed, and average terminal dwell improved compared to 2022 as last year we experienced congestion across our system. These metrics were negatively impacted by operational challenges caused by weather in the first quarter of 2023 and train crew shortages in some locations in the first half of the year, but as network fluidity improved throughout 2023, freight car velocity increased sequentially.

 

Locomotive Productivity – Locomotive productivity is gross ton-miles per average daily locomotive horsepower. Locomotive productivity improved 3% in 2023 compared to 2022 driven by improved network fluidity in the second half of 2023. As a result of the improved fluidity, we stored locomotives in the second half of the year, reducing our active fleet size 11% since the end of the second quarter of 2023. These improvements more than offset increased average active fleet size in the first half of 2023 as resources were deployed to alleviate operational challenges and weather disruptions.

 

Train Length – Train length is the average maximum train length on a route measured in feet. Our train length increased slightly compared to 2022 as initiative to drive train length improvements in the second half of the year more than offset the declines in intermodal shipments, which generally move on longer trains.

 

Car Trip Plan Compliance – Car trip plan compliance is the percentage of cars delivered on time in accordance with our original trip plan. Our network trip plan compliance is broken into the intermodal and manifest/automotive products. Intermodal car trip plan compliance and manifest/automotive car trip plan compliance improved in 2023 compared to 2022 driven by improved network fluidity, as evidenced by faster freight car velocity.

 

Workforce Productivity – Workforce productivity is average daily car miles per employee. Workforce productivity declined 3% in 2023 as average daily car miles decreased slightly and employees increased compared to 2022. The 3% increase in employee levels was driven by an increase in craft professionals as we aggressively hired train, engine, and yard employees to backfill attrition, cover absences resulting from recently negotiated sick leave benefits, and add employees in areas of critical need to address operational challenges and support our service product.

 

Operating Ratio – Operating ratio is our operating expenses reflected as a percentage of operating revenues. Our operating ratio of 62.3% deteriorated 2.2 points compared to 2022 driven by inflation, excess network costs, the ratification charge for a crew staffing agreement reached in the second quarter of 2023, increased casualty costs, and other cost increases, partially offset by core pricing gains, the 2022 one-time charge for the labor agreements reached with our labor unions, and the year-over-year lag impact from lower fuel prices.

 

 

Return on Average Common Shareholders Equity

 

Millions, Except Percentages

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

 

Net income

  $ 6,379     $ 6,998     $ 6,523  

Average equity

  $ 13,476     $ 13,162     $ 15,560  

Return on average common shareholders' equity

    47.3 %     53.2 %     41.9 %

 

Return on Invested Capital as Adjusted (ROIC)

 

Millions, Except Percentages

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

 

Net income

  $ 6,379     $ 6,998     $ 6,523  

Interest expense

    1,340       1,271       1,157  

Interest on average operating lease liabilities

    58       56       54  

Taxes on interest

    (315 )     (304 )     (280 )

Net operating profit after taxes as adjusted

  $ 7,462     $ 8,021     $ 7,454  

Average equity

  $ 13,476     $ 13,162     $ 15,560  

Average debt

    32,953       31,528       28,229  

Average operating lease liabilities

    1,616       1,695       1,682  

Average invested capital as adjusted

  $ 48,045     $ 46,385     $ 45,471  

Return on invested capital as adjusted

    15.5 %     17.3 %     16.4 %

 

ROIC is considered a non-GAAP financial measure by SEC Regulation G and Item 10 of SEC Regulation S-K and may not be defined and calculated by other companies in the same manner. We believe this measure is important to management and investors in evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of our long-term capital investments. In addition, we currently use ROIC as a performance criterion in determining certain elements of equity compensation for our executives. ROIC should be considered in addition to, rather than as a substitute for, other information provided in accordance with GAAP. The most comparable GAAP measure is return on average common shareholders’ equity. The tables above provide a reconciliation from return on average common shareholders’ equity to ROIC. At December 31, 2023, 2022, and 2021, the incremental borrowing rate on operating leases was 3.6%, 3.3%, and 3.2%, respectively.

 

Debt / Net Income

 

Millions, Except Ratios

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

 

Debt

  $ 32,579     $ 33,326     $ 29,729  

Net income

  $ 6,379     $ 6,998     $ 6,523  

Debt / net income

    5.1       4.8       4.6  

 

Adjusted Debt / Adjusted EBITDA

 

Millions, Except Ratios

2023

2022

2021

 

Net income

  $ 6,379     $ 6,998     $ 6,523  

Add:

                       

Income tax expense

    1,854       2,074       1,955  

Depreciation

    2,318       2,246       2,208  

Interest expense

    1,340       1,271       1,157  

EBITDA

  $ 11,891     $ 12,589     $ 11,843  

Adjustments:

                       

Other income, net

    (491 )     (426 )     (297 )

Interest on operating lease liabilities

    58       54       56  

Adjusted EBITDA

  $ 11,458     $ 12,217     $ 11,602  

Debt

  $ 32,579     $ 33,326     $ 29,729  

Operating lease liabilities

    1,600       1,631       1,759  

Adjusted debt

  $ 34,179     $ 34,957     $ 31,488  

Adjusted debt / adjusted EBITDA

    3.0       2.9       2.7  

 

 

Adjusted debt (total debt plus operating lease liabilities plus after-tax unfunded pension and OPEB (other post retirement benefit) obligations) to adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization, and adjustments for other income and interest on present value of operating leases) is considered a non-GAAP financial measure by SEC Regulation G and Item 10 of SEC Regulation S-K and may not be defined and calculated by other companies in the same manner. We believe this measure is important to management and investors in evaluating the Company’s ability to sustain given debt levels (including leases) with the cash generated from operations. In addition, a comparable measure is used by rating agencies when reviewing the Company’s credit rating. Adjusted debt to adjusted EBITDA should be considered in addition to, rather than as a substitute for, other information provided in accordance with GAAP. The most comparable GAAP measure is debt to net income ratio. The tables above provide reconciliations from net income to adjusted EBITDA, debt to adjusted debt, and debt to net income to adjusted debt to adjusted EBITDA. At December 31, 2023, 2022, and 2021, the incremental borrowing rate on operating leases was 3.6%, 3.3%, and 3.2%, respectively. Pension and OPEB were funded at December 31, 2023, 2022, and 2021.

 

LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL RESOURCES

 

We are continually evaluating our financial condition and liquidity. We analyze a wide range of economic scenarios and the impact on our ability to generate cash. These analyses inform our liquidity plans and activities outlined below and indicate we have sufficient borrowing capacity to sustain an extended period of lower volumes.

 

At both December 31, 2023 and 2022, we had a working capital deficit due to upcoming debt maturities. It is not unusual for us to have a working capital deficit, and we believe it is not an indication of a lack of liquidity. We generate strong cash from operations and also maintain adequate resources, including our credit facility and, when necessary, access the capital markets to meet foreseeable cash requirements.

 

During 2023, we generated $8.4 billion of cash provided by operating activities, issued $1.0 billion of long-term debt, paid $3.2 billion in dividends, and repurchased shares totaling $0.7 billion. We have been, and we expect to continue to be, in compliance with our debt covenants. 

 

Our principal sources of liquidity include cash and cash equivalents, our Receivables Facility, our revolving credit facility, as well as the availability of commercial paper and other sources of financing through the capital markets. On December 31, 2023, we had $1.1 billion of cash and cash equivalents, $2.0 billion of committed credit available under our revolving credit facility, and up to $800 million undrawn on the Receivables Facility. As of December 31, 2023, none of the revolving credit facility was drawn, and we did not draw on our revolving credit facility at any time during 2023. Our access to the Receivables Facility may be reduced or restricted if our bond ratings fall to certain levels below investment grade. If our bond rating were to deteriorate, it could have an adverse impact on our liquidity. Access to commercial paper as well as other capital market financing is dependent on market conditions. Deterioration of our operating results or financial condition due to internal or external factors could negatively impact our ability to access capital markets as a source of liquidity. Access to liquidity through the capital markets is also dependent on our financial stability. We expect that we will continue to have access to liquidity through any or all the following sources or activities: (a) increasing the utilization of our Receivables Facility, (b) issuing commercial paper, (c) entering into bank loans, outside of our revolving credit facility, or (iv) issuing bonds or other debt securities to public or private investors based on our assessment of the current condition of the credit markets. The Company’s $2.0 billion revolving credit facility is intended to support the issuance of commercial paper by UPC and also serves as an additional source of liquidity to fund short-term needs. The Company currently does not intend to make any borrowings under this facility.

 

As described in the notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements and as referenced in the table below, we have contractual obligations that may affect our financial condition. Based on our assessment of the underlying provisions and circumstances of our contractual obligations, other than the risks that we and other similarly situated companies face with respect to the condition of the capital markets (as described in Item 1A of Part II of this report), as of the date of this filing, there is no known trend, demand, commitment, event, or uncertainty that is reasonably likely to occur that would have a material adverse effect on our consolidated results of operations, financial condition, or liquidity. In addition, our commercial obligations, financings, and commitments are customary transactions that are like those of other comparable corporations, particularly within the transportation industry.

 

 

The following table identifies material obligations as of December 31, 2023:

 

           

Payments Due by December 31,

 

Contractual Obligations

                                                 

After

 

Millions

 

Total

   

2024

   

2025

   

2026

   

2027

   

2028

   

2028

 

Debt [a]

  $ 60,516     $ 2,610     $ 2,591     $ 2,617     $ 2,348       2,294     $ 48,056  

Purchase obligations [b]

    2,985       1,150       744       600       222       158       111  

Operating leases [c]

    1,768       361       375       296       237       199       300  

Other post retirement benefits [d]

    393       44       40       40       39       39       191  

Finance lease obligations [e]

    173       55       42       35       30       11       -  

Total contractual obligations

  $ 65,835     $ 4,220     $ 3,792     $ 3,588     $ 2,876     $ 2,701     $ 48,658  

 

[a]

Excludes finance lease obligations of $158 million as well as unamortized discount and deferred issuance costs of ($1,732) million. Includes an interest component of $26,363 million.

[b]

Purchase obligations include locomotive maintenance contracts; purchase commitments for ties, ballast, and rail; and agreements to purchase other goods and services.

[c]

Includes leases for locomotives, freight cars, other equipment, and real estate. Includes an interest component of $168 million. 

[d]

Includes estimated other post retirement, medical, and life insurance payments, and payments made under the unfunded pension plan for the next ten years.

[e]

Represents total obligations, including interest component of $15 million.

 

Cash Flows

                       

Millions

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

 

Cash provided by operating activities

  $ 8,379     $ 9,362     $ 9,032  

Cash used in investing activities

    (3,667 )     (3,471 )     (2,709 )

Cash used in financing activities

    (4,625 )     (5,887 )     (7,158 )

Net change in cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash

  $ 87     $ 4     $ (835 )

 

Operating Activities

 

Cash provided by operating activities decreased in 2023 compared to 2022 due primarily to a decrease in net income and $454 million of payments related to the 2022 one-time charge for agreements reached with our labor unions and the ratification charge for a crew staffing agreement reached in the second quarter of 2023. 

 

Cash flow conversion is defined as cash provided by operating activities less cash used in capital investments as a ratio of net income. Cash flow conversion rate is not considered a financial measure under GAAP by SEC Regulation G and Item 10 of SEC Regulation S-K and may not be defined and calculated by other companies in the same manner. We believe cash flow conversion rate is important to management and investors in evaluating our financial performance and measures our ability to generate cash without additional external financing. Cash flow conversion rate should be considered in addition to, rather than as a substitute for, cash provided by operating activities. The following table reconciles cash provided by operating activities (GAAP measure) to cash flow conversion rate (non-GAAP measure):

 

Millions,

                       

For the Year Ended December 31,

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

 

Cash provided by operating activities

  $ 8,379     $ 9,362     $ 9,032  

Cash used in capital investments

    (3,606 )     (3,620 )     (2,936 )

Total (a)

    4,773       5,742       6,096  

Net income (b)

  $ 6,379     $ 6,998     $ 6,523  

Cash flow conversion rate (a/b)

    75

%

    82

%

    93

%

 

Investing Activities

 

Cash used in investing activities in 2023 increased compared to 2022 primarily driven by lower proceeds from asset sales within other investing activities net.

 

 

The following tables detail cash capital investments and track statistics for the years ended December 31:

 

Millions

 

2023

   

2022

   

2021

 

Ties

  $ 565     $ 544     $ 443  

Rail and other track material

    454       437       507  

Ballast

    194       216       215