Coronavirus A Threat To Oil Markets & UP Headcount Cuts | Weekly News Update

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Why The Coronavirus Is A Real Threat To Oil Markets

As the coronavirus spreads across China and to other parts of the world, restricted travel can contribute to slowing economic demand growth and has brought oil and diesel markets down.  The virus has been reported in the U.S. in limited cases in major travel hubs between the U.S. and China, such as Washington D.C., Chicago, and California.  Although there are no reported deaths in the U.S. the death toll in China has climbed to 81, with significantly more infected.  West Texas Intermediate (WTI) and Brent crude oil prices dropped 14 and 12 percent since the beginning of the year.  Wholesale diesel prices have also dropped over 21¢ per gallon or 8 percent during the same timeframe.


Union Pacific Predicts More Headcount Cuts and Yard Consolidation in 2020

The COO at Union Pacific (UP), Jim Vena, claims the company is not yet “at the 50-yard line” when it comes to improving the efficiency and profitability of the railroad.  UP plans to cut an additional 3,000 workers in 2020.  This is on top of the railway reducing 20 percent in crew starts—the number of crews that start a train journey—and an 11 percent dip in carloads in 2019.  UP reached an operating ratio of 59.7 percent in the fourth quarter and 60.6 percent for the year.  The goal to reach in 2019 was 60 percent, while the new goal is to hit 55 percent in 2020.


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Supply Chain Dive: Union Pacific predicts more headcount cuts and yard consolidation in 2020

Union Pacific is not yet at the 50-yard line when it comes to improving the efficiency and profitability of the railroad, COO Jim Vena said on an earnings call Thursday. Further headcount reduction and network shifts are to come, executives said.

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This weekly publication is designed to highlight relevant industry news to provide professionals in the transportation, supply chain, and energy sectors with up-to-date information in a rapidly changing marketplace. This update is purely a compilation of industry news and as such, does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Breakthrough. We do not warrant or guarantee accuracy or completeness of information. For additional information, please contact us at

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