“We’ve been talking about the rail renaissance for a number of years,” CSX’s Michael Ward said today in an interview. “I think Mr. Buffett, after we talked about it for three or four years, finally agreed with us.”
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. in February completed its $26 billion purchase of Burlington Northern, which was the biggest U.S. railroad by revenue in 2008. In March, the industry reported its highest weekly freight volume since that year, according to the Association of American Railroads. Shipments are rising after more than two years of declines.
“We think he was brilliant,” said Ward, whose Jacksonville, Florida-based railroad operates mainly in the eastern U.S. while Burlington Northern is focused on the western half. Buffett’s acquisition is “a Good Housekeeping seal of approval” for the industry, the CEO said.
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