BNSF Railway says it’s planning employee furloughs due to a drop in freight shipping demand across its rail network.
The Fort Worth-based company said Wednesday in a statement that it hopes to call back employees “as soon as business needs require.”
The railroad declined to say how many employees were being furloughed but that they are “at different locations across our network.” The company also said it’s reducing it’s hiring plans for the next several months.
“Customers’ volumes in the near term have come down somewhat from their prior estimates. As a result we are having to adjust our workforce demand numbers down to match volume and the work required to move that volume,” the statement said.
BNSF is part of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, based in Omaha, Nebraska.
The railroad is the biggest player in North Dakota’s oil patch, hauling most of the 1.1 million barrels that moves out of the region daily. Oil drilling has been curtailed significantly in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale and other fields following the collapse in oil prices.
The railroad also is the biggest hauler of freight in the Upper Great Plains.
Just last year, the railroad was expanding rapidly, adding 6,000 workers and 500 locomotives to meet demand for shipping and ease backups caused by severe winter weather.