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Union Pacific Corporation (NYSE:UNP)
Q2 2018 Earnings Conference Call
July 19, 2018, 8:45 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Greetings and welcome to the Union Pacific second quarter earnings call. At this time, all participants' lines will be in listen-only mode. A brief question and answer session will follow the formal presentation. If anyone should require operator assistance during the conference, please press *0 on your telephone keypad. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded and the slides for today's presentation are available on Union Pacific's website. It's now my pleasure to introduce your host, Mr. Lance Fritz, Chairman, President, and CEO for Union Pacific. Mr. Fritz, you may now begin.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

Thank you and good morning everybody and welcome to Union Pacific's second quarter earnings conference call. With me here today in Omaha are Beth Whited, Chief Marketing Officer, Cameron Scott, our Chief Operating Officer, and Rob Knight, our Chief Financial Officer. This morning, Union Pacific is reporting net income of $1.5 billion for the second quarter of 2018 or a $1.98 per share. That is an all-time quarterly record for Union Pacific even without the benefit from corporate tax reform. This represents an increase of 29% and 37% respectively when compared to 2017. Total volume increased 4% in the quarter compared to 2017. Premium and industrial car loadings both increased 6%, while agricultural products and energy volumes were both down 1%.

The quarterly operating ratio came in at 63%, which was up 1.1 points from the second quarter of 2017. Higher fuel prices had a 1.1-point negative impact on the operating ratio. Strong topline growth was offset by an increase in volume-related costs and higher spending due to lingering network and efficiencies. Network performance improved significantly for the first two months coming out of the first quarter.

However, service interruptions from a tunnel outage on our western region and challenges caused by localized train crew shortages created a significant headwind in the month of June. The tunnel disruption is now behind us and operations should continue to improve as graduates from the training pipeline enter productive train service in the coming months. I'm confident that we have the right plans in place to drive improvement in our operation and a better service experience for our customers. The team will give you more the details on the second quarter, starting with Beth.

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

Thank you, Lance, and good morning. For the second quarter, our volume was up 4% driven by strength in our industrial and premium business groups with offsets in both agricultural and energy. We generated positive net quo pricing of 2% in the quarter with continued pricing pressure in our coal and international intermodal markets. The increase in volume at a 4% improvement in average revenue per car drove an 8% increase in freight revenue. With that, let's take a closer look at the performance of each business group.

Ag products revenue was up 5% as a 1% volume decrease was more than offset by a 6% average revenue per car increase. Grain carloads were down 4% driven by weakness in wheat due to a low-quality crop and reduced US competitiveness in the world export market. This was partially offset by strong corn and soybean shipments both domestically and for export. Grain products carloads were up 6% due to continued demand for ethanol exports and other biofuels coupled with strength and animal feed products as the substitute for soybean meal. Fertilizer and sulfur experienced a 5% decrease in shipments as a result of new local production capacity. Energy revenue increased 5% for the quarter on a 1% decrease in volume and a 6% increase in average revenue per car. Coal and coke volume was down 10% driven primarily by a contract change and retirement coupled with lower natural gas prices. Natural gas prices fell 10% versus the second quarter 2017 and PRB coal inventories continue to be below the five-year average.

Sand carloads were up 24% due to increased crude production from major shale formations and favorable crude oil prices. Furthermore, the favorable crude oil price spreads also drove an increase in crude oil shipments, which was the primary driver for the 19% increase of petroleum, LPG, and renewable carloads for the quarter. Industrial revenue was up 8% on a 6% increase in volume and a 2% increase in average revenue per car during the quarter. Construction carloads increased 8% primarily driven by rock and cement due to pent-up demand and dry weather in the south. Metals volume increased 18% for the quarter driven by strong pipe demand into west Texas and Oklahoma for shale drilling. In addition, strong industrial production drove growth and various other commodities including industrial chemicals, plastics, and forest products.

Premium revenue was up 14% with a 6% increase in volume and an 8% increase in average revenue per car. Domestic intermodal volume increased 7% driven by continued strength in parcel and stronger demand from tight truck capacity. We also saw an acceleration in price per load in this segment during the quarter. Auto parts volume growth was driven by over the road conversions and growth in light truck demand, which minimized the impact of lower overall production levels. International intermodal volume was up 7% as new ocean carrier business winds began to ramp up in the second quarter. Finished vehicle shipments were up 1% due to stronger second-quarter sales, increased production at UP serve plants and strong production and shipments from Mexico. As we look ahead at the second half of 2018, our Ag products group will continue to face challenges in the export grain market from high global supplies, foreign tariffs, and a low protein wheat crop. However, we are seeing positive indications in the market due to crop uncertainty in South America.

We anticipate continued strength in ethanol exports driven by its value as an octane and oxygenate enhancer. We also expect growth in food and beverage shipments due to cold connect penetration, tightening truck capacity, and continued strength in import beer. For energy, we expect favorable clear-all price spread to drive positive results for petroleum products. But tougher year-over-year frack scene comparison coupled with an emerging local sand supply will continue to generate a level of uncertainty. We expect coal to continue to experience headwinds in the third quarter with natural gas prices and as always, for coal, weather conditions will be a key factor for demand.

For industrial, we anticipate upside in plastics as production levels increase as well as continued strength in industrial production driving growth in several commodities. For premium, over the road conversions from continued tightening and truck capacity will present new opportunities for domestic and auto parts growth. Despite challenges within the international intermodal market, we anticipate year-over-year growth for the remainder of the year, resulting from new business opportunities.

The US light vehicle sales forecast for 2018 is 16.9 million units, down about 2% from 2017. However, production shifts and some new import business will create some opportunity to offset the weaker market demand. With that, I'll turn it over to Cameron for an update on our operating performance.

Cameron Scott -- Chief Operating Officer

Thanks, Beth, and good morning. Starting with safety performance, our reportable personal injury rate was 0.76; flat compared to the first half of last year. With regards to rail equipping incidents or derailments, our reportable rate improved 3% to 2.93. In public safety, our grate crossing incident rate increased 19% versus 2017 to 2.71. While this is disappointing from a year-over-year standpoint, we did show incremental improvement from first quarter to second quarter. We're optimistic that our continued partnership with communities will improve our public safety numbers.

Moving onto network performance, as reported to the AAR, velocity declined 3% and terminal dwell increased 4% compared to the second quarter of 2017. During the first two months of the quarter, we made excellent progress working through our operational challenges, improving our network fluidity and associated service metrics. The tunnel on our I5 corridor in Oregon collapsed in late May, filling it with dirt and rock which required extensive repairs. Traffic was rerouted through Salt Lake City incurring additional transit time of four to five days, which negatively impacted our network performance.

With the tunnel disruption now behind us, service metrics are starting to rebound and we should continue to see further improvement going forward. The tunnel outage meant more cars spending additional time on the network, thus consuming greater locomotive and clear resources. From a locomotive perspective, our surge capacity gave us the flexibility to meet both the network challenges and an increase in demand.

At quarter end, we had about 200 high horsepower road units in storage. Going forward, we are confident we have ample resources to continue improving service and keep pace with demand. On the TENY front, the TNW reroutes peak vacation season and holidays made June a challenging month.

Though we continue to maintain a strong recruiting pipeline to meet current and future TENY requirements. Our TENY workforces up 8% when compared to the second quarter of 2017, primarily driven by an increase of approximately 900 employees in the training pipeline. We'll graduate about 225 individuals in July and plan to graduate approximately 250 trainees per month in August and September. While crude supply has been fairly tight this summer, it should improve later in the quarter as we realize the benefits of our recruiting and hiring initiatives.

Although we have made substantial improvement in our operations, we are not where we need to be on achieving productivity. As we right size our resources, we have significant opportunity to reduce train crew cost and maintenance spending associated with the larger locomotive fleet. We will also refocus our efforts on driving fuel efficiency across our network. Train size performance, however, continues to be a bright spot. We achieve best ever results on our grain category and a second-quarter record in our manifest network. And productivity in other areas, like renewal capital projects, remains strong.

While setbacks happen, they have not stopped us from working as hard as we can to bring service back to normal levels. As service improves, we will continue to optimize our network and adjust resources accordingly. Our goal is to generate solid productivity savings and operational efficiencies that provide an excellent service experience for our customers while driving margin improvement. With that, I'll turn it over to Rob.

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks and good morning. Let's start with a recap of our second quarter results. Operating revenue was $5.7 billion in the quarter up 8% versus last year. Positive core price increased fuel surcharge revenue and a 4% increase in volume where the primary drivers of revenue growth for the quarter. Operating expense totaled $3.6 billion up 10% from 2017. Operating income totaled $2.1 billion, a 5% increase from last year. Below the line, other income was $42 million compared to $50 million in 2017. Interest expense of $203 million was up 13% compared to the previous year, and this reflects the impact of a higher total debt balance partially offset by a lower effective interest rate. Income tax expense decreased 39% to $429 million.

The decrease was primarily driven by a lower tax rate as a result of corporate tax reform and was partially offset by higher pre-tax earnings. Our effective tax rate was 22.1%, which came in lower than what we were anticipating. Tax rate reductions were enacted in two states during the second quarter, resulting in a reduction in our state income tax liability. For the full year, we expect our effective tax rate to be closer to 24%. Net income totaled $1.5 billion up 29% versus last year; while the outstanding share balance declined 5% as a result of our continued share repurchase activity.

These results, combined to produce an all-time quarterly record earnings per share of a $1.98. The operating ratio was 63%, which was up 1.1 percentage points from the second quarter last year. The combined impact of fuel price and our fuel surcharge lag had a 1.1-point negative impact on the operating ratio in the quarter compared to 2017. And fuel had a neutral impact on earnings per share year-over-year.

Freight revenue of $5.3 billion was up 8% versus last year. Fuel surcharge revenue totaled $412 million, up $178 million when compared to 2017 and up $59 million versus the first quarter. The negative business mix impact on freight revenue in the second quarter was almost a full point. Growth in sand volumes was offset by an increase in lower average revenue per car intermodal shipments. Core price was 2% in the second quarter. Coal and international intermodal continue to be a challenge from a pricing perspective.

However, if we set coal and international intermodal aside, our core price increased to 3% in the quarter. For the full year, we still expect the total dollars that we generate from our pricing actions will well exceed our rail inflation cost. Turning now to operating expense, slide 19 provides a summary of our operating expenses for the quarter. Compensation and benefits expense increased 3% to $1.2 billion versus '17. The increase was driven primarily by volume-related costs, network inefficiencies, and increased TENY training expenses partially offset by lower management costs as a result of our workforce reduction program that we initiated last year.

For the full year, we still expect labor and overall inflation to be under 2%. Total workforce levels were flat in the second quarter versus last year. This was driven primarily by a 10% decrease in employees associated with our capital projects; employees not associated with capital projects were up around 1% driven primarily by an increase in the TENY training pipeline. Offsetting a portion of this increase was a decrease of more than 500 management employees. Fuel expense totaled $643 million, up 48% when compared to last year. Higher diesel fuel prices and a 4% increase in gross ton-miles were the primary drivers of the increase in fuel expense for the quarter.

Compared to the second quarter of last year, our average fuel price increased 36% to $2.30 per gallon. Our fuel consumption rate also increased during the quarter by about 6%. While there was some adverse impact from mix, the predominant driver of the increased sea rate was the service-related challenges that we experienced. Purchased services and materials expense increased 6% to $630 million. The increase was primarily driven by volume-related cost, higher freight car repair expense, and increased locomotive repair cost associated with maintaining a larger active locomotive fleet.

Turning now to slide 20, depreciation expense was $546 million up 4% compared to 2017. The increase is primarily driven by a higher depreciable asset base. For the full year 2018, we estimate that depreciation expense will increase by about 5%. Moving to equipment and other rents, this expense totaled $265 million in the quarter, which is down 3% when compared to 2017. The decrease was primarily driven by lower locomotive and freight car lease expenses and higher equity income mainly driven by the lower federal tax rate implemented in 2018. These decreases were partially offset by higher car rent expense due to volume growth and slower network velocity. Other expenses came in at $248 million up 13% versus last year. The primary driver was an increase in property taxes and other expenses partially offset by a decrease in personal injury expense and reduced casualty costs.

For the full year 2018, we expect other expense to be up about 10% compared to 2017 excluding any unusual items. On the productivity side, productivity savings yielded from our G55 and 0 initiatives were entirely offset by additional cost as a result of the continued operational challenges. We estimate the impact of these operational challenges totaled about $65 million in the quarter. The $65 million of additional costs were spread somewhat evenly across cost categories of comp and benefits, purchase services, fuel, and to a lesser extent, equipment rents. Looking ahead, as Cam just mentioned, we will be focused on eliminating network cost inefficiencies as quickly as possible so that we can once again begin generating the productivity savings we need to drive margin improvement.

Looking at our cash flow, cash from operations through the first half totaled $4 billion up about 17% when compared to last year. Higher net income and lower federal tax payments were partially offset by payments made to our agreement workforce in the first quarter. Taking a look at adjusted debt levels, the all in adjusted debt balance totaled $25.4 billion at the end of the second quarter up about $5.9 billion since year-end, 2017. This includes the most recent $6 billion debt offering that we concluded in early June. We finished the second quarter with an adjusted debt to EBITDA ratio of about 2.4 times.

As we mentioned at our investor day, our new target for debt to EBITDA is up to 2.7, which we will achieve over time. Dividend payments for the first half totaled $1.1 billion up from $980 million in 2017. This includes the effect of a 10% dividend increase in the fourth quarter of 2017 and an additional 10% increase, which occurred in the first quarter of this year. We repurchased a total of 42.5 million shares during the first half of 2018, including 33.2 million shares in the second quarter. This total includes the initial 19.9 million shares received as part of a $3.6 billion accelerated share repurchase program that we began in June.

We expect to receive additional shares under the terms of the ASR as the program reaches completion later this year. Between dividend payments and share repurchases, we returned $7.8 billion to our shareholders in the first half of this year. Looking ahead to the second half of the year, we are raising our volume guidance and now expect full year volumes to be up in the low to mid-single-digit range. With a positive full-year volume and positive core price, we should continue to see solid topline improvement for the remainder of the year. On the expense side of the equation, we are working hard to improve our operations and eliminate inefficiency costs within the network and we still expect to achieve an improved full-year operating ratio in 2018. So with that, I'll turn it back to Lance.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Rob. As we discussed today, we delivered record second-quarter earnings per share driven by strong volumes and solid topline revenue growth. While I'm disappointed we did not drop more of that revenue growth to the bottom line, I am encouraged by the strength of the economy and the positive impact on most of our business segments. Looking to the remainder of the year, we expect the strong business environment to continue while we regain our productivity momentum and improve the value proposition for all of our stakeholders. So with that, let's open up the line for your questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. We'll now be conducting the question and answer session. If you'd like to ask a question today, please press *1 on your telephone keypad and a confirmation tone will indicate your line is in the question queue. You may press *2 if you like to move your question from the queue. For participants using unique speaker equipment, it may be necessary to pick up your handset before pressing the * keys. Due to the number of analysts joining us on the call today, we'll be limiting everyone to one primary question and one follow-up question to accommodate as many participants as possible. Thank you and our first question comes from the line of Tom Wadewitz with UBS.

Tom Wadewitz -- UBS -- Analyst

Yes, good morning. I wanted to ask you about the -- obviously, the tunnel impact and there was some constraints on crew and you identified that 65 million -- how would you think about that number in second half? It seems like the velocity's improved in the last couple weeks then you've got a better crew position. Does that number come down a lot in the third quarter or is that kind of a gradual thing where you still have meaningful service cost in the third quarter?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

I'll start and then let Rob kind of put details around it. You got that exactly right. What we said was coming into the second quarter we were making good progress on improving the service levels, decreasing congestion, and starting to move some of those costs out. We had that incident on the I5 that was very impactful particularly when it comes to a network that was already a little bit fragile. As we are exiting the second quarter coming into the third, we're getting our feedback under us, we see improvement, I don't see any reason absent some other catastrophic event that we don't get right back on the path and start making those same kinds of improvements.

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

I would just add: Tom, it won't go away in the third quarter, there'll be some lingering costs but yes we are all about reducing those aggressively and dramatically and if you just do the math, for us to improve our operating ratio year-over-year that implies that we will make good progress on the productivity front in both the third and fourth quarter.

Tom Wadewitz -- UBS -- Analyst

Okay, that's helpful, I appreciate it. On the pricing topic -- I guess excluding the international intermodal and coal there was a little bit of a tick-up to the 3% you identified. But when you look at the total core price of 2% I think this is the fourth quarter in a row you've been at that level. I would've expected more of a pick-up in that. How do you think we ought to look at that going forward? Is that something that just kind of stays stuck at 2% and that's just kind of the coal international intermodal headwinds continue or do you think it's reasonable to expect that kind of total core price to tick-up if we look out the next few quarters?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

Well, Tom, it's Beth. The coal and international intermodal headwinds continue but we're really encouraged by what we see in the truck markets. ELD's definitely had an impact; capacity is kind of tight across all modes of transportation, which is giving us good opportunity to price into that. And just as a reminder, we get to touch about a third of it every year and we're halfway through the year. And we are, like I said, encouraged.

Tom Wadewitz -- UBS -- Analyst

So it sounds like it's realistic to -- obviously, you don't forecast what price is gonna do but it's realistic to expect some improvement in kind of broader pricing momentum.

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

You're right, we really don't predict what pricing's gonna do. Like I said, we're encouraged by what we see out there but we do still have some headwinds that we're dealing with.

Operator

The next question comes from the line of Brian Ossenbeck with JP Morgan.

Brian Ossenbeck -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Hey, thanks, good morning, I appreciate you taking the question. I guess going back to the operating ratio, can you quantify what the actual impact was in the quarter from the crews -- I guess more specifically the tunnel collapse because you saw some improvement from that? Just having a hard time getting to a run rate in the second half that would get you full year improvement on 2018.

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

Let me take a shot at that, Brian. The tunnel indirect cost was about $6 million to deal with that, about half OE, half capital. But it had clearly a residual impact on the efficiency of the network. And so breaking out exactly what impact the tunnel had beyond the direct cost is really kind of a difficult task. It definitely contributed to the inefficiencies much broader across the network that led to the $65 million of cost. In terms of what we have to get, without giving a precise number, we clearly have to get -- and can and expect to -- get back on the track. Again, as I said earlier, the recent lingering cost in the third quarter but we're aggressively going to reduce from the $65 million failure cost that we had in the second quarter and that's what it's gonna take to improve the operating ratio year-over-year.

Brian Ossenbeck -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

As a follow-up, Lance mentioned that workers are already a little bit fragile so it gives us time for another PTC update. Just wanted to see how that was trending in the labor side? I guess this is the second call we've heard a call out on vacations to potential headwind on the crew side. So clearly the labor market's tight overall. Just wanted to get your senses to the pipeline being full enough to kind of finally get over the hump here when it comes to getting enough crews in the spots you need it the most?

Cameron Scott -- Chief Operating Officer

On the crew pipeline, as you received the numbers on what we planned to enter in the workforce for August and September, and that pipeline looks very solid for the remainder of the year. So as Lance mentioned, we do not see a crew issue going forward. It will solidify. On the PTC front, our unattended breaking ratio is dropping. That's very positive. And we have initiatives to continue dropping that ratio. Total stops are about the same at this point as we bring more trains on board to that new technology. So net is about the same but good news is we're making very positive progress on the stop ratio.

Operator

Your next question is from the line of Ken Hoexter with Merrill Lynch. Please proceed with your questions.

Ken Hoexter -- Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Hey, great, good morning. So you mentioned the upside to your outlook on the revenue side but Beth mentioned some tariff impacts on the agriculture. Just wanted to see, Beth, are you starting to see that spread in any sort of way as they've expanded the tariffs and kind of maybe Lance your thoughts on impact on the trade? I know you made some comments at a conference recently; maybe you can expand on that a little bit.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

Sure, so I'll start, Ken, then let Beth talk specifically about our markets. The concern is that tariffs are just going to basically be a tax, whether it's on US consumption or US products going overseas and generally that's going to reduce the amount of demand. We haven't necessarily seen that wholesale and I'll ask Beth to kind of fill in the blanks in detail. But it's pretty early; those things just went into effect. We have seen some very specific impacts on us but they're pretty granular, right? Inbound on some rail that we buy from Japan. There was a substantial 25% tariff on the last boat that was received and then we've seen some other discreet impacts on customers. But Beth, you want to fill in the blanks?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

So when we talk about agriculture, we aren't really seeing the impacts yet because of the crop uncertainty in South America that I reference. So I think this year the Ag business looks OK in the United States but I think where we're more concerned is in the longer term what the impacts will be. And really, the other impacts on steel, for example, have kind of been in that neutral for us. But anyway, to Lance's point, the longer term free trade impacts are the thing we're really keeping an eye on.

Ken Hoexter -- Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Great. And just a follow-up for Rob if I can. Given the increased expenses, sounds like with Lance's comments about the tight network, do you think we're still at a 3.3 billion capex or the increase that given the outages? And then just a number question I guess on your buyback. You had 5.5 billion in buyback, 33.2 million shares that would be $166 a share. I presume that's not correct. Is that because you still have shares come from the accelerated buyback?

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, Ken, on the capital -- we are not planning on increasing the capital. We think the 3.3-ish has us covered for what we need to do to address the issues that we currently have upon us. On the buyback, yeah, exactly right, the math that you just did is missing the remaining 20% that will be delivered later this year of shares that are apart of that ASR.

Operator

Your next question is from the line of Brandon Oglenski with Barclays. Please proceed with your questions.

Brandon Oglenski -- Barclays -- Analyst

Hey, good morning everyone thanks for taking my question. So, Beth, we've been talking about pricing pressure in international intermodal for quite some time. I wondered if you could hash out the new contract wind that you called out there because you did see some volume acceleration finally. And how do you put that in the context of this pricing pressure that we've been hearing about now for maybe two years?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

We're doing business with two-thirds of the alliance of ONE prior to them combining and so when we won the rest of that business that's obviously giving us a volume booth the market is still, I would call it, it's not exactly in disarray but there still remains a lot of pressure in that particular market and we are subsequently seeing quite a bit of pricing pressure in that market. Not only -- I guess there are different kinds of competition right? There's direct competition with other railroads, there's competition with trucks, and then there's competition with other ports. And so all of those things bring a different level of competitive pricing pressure to the market and that's really what we're dealing with.

Brandon Oglenski -- Barclays -- Analyst

I guess coming out of your analyst day a month or so ago, we got the message from you guys that you don't want to just grow for growth sake and you want to make sure you're bringing on the right price. So I guess that's what I was getting at -- are you happy with the price of that new contract that's coming on? And I think you also said you can only reprice maybe a third of your intermodal business so should we also believe that there's just not a lot of escalators on those contracts either that you can recoup inflation?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

I agree with you, we're interested in growing both price and volume and we are intently focused on making sure that we receive the value that our capacity is worth when we do both of those things. So as we look forward what you see is we've kind of got two books of business if you will in intermodal. You've got the international intermodal business, which is generally in more like three to five-year contracts that have some sort of an escalator in them that at the time that we did the deal we were quite comfortable with. And then you've got the domestic market that tends to reprice annually and that domestic market tends to be very truck competitive and that's where we feel pretty good about what we're seeing in terms of the tightening truck capacity and our ability to get pricing.

Operator

Our next question is from the line of Amit Mehrotra with Deutsche Bank. Please proceed with your questions.

Amit Mehrotra -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Thanks, operator, thanks for taking my questions, guys. Rob, on the core pricing growth -- that 3% ex-coal international intermodal that you highlighted -- any help on where that was on an apples to apples basis maybe in early 2015 so we can just get a sense of where we are on the pricing cycle so to speak ex-those kind of specific headwinds and how much room there is versus the prior peak?

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

I don't have that number offhand. I would tell you the mix would come into play. But I would just tell you that three is up from roughly 2.75 earlier this year so we're feeling good about that number when you add it all in. I don't have a reference to 2015.

Amit Mehrotra -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Okay, so just a quick follow-up to that. Do you think based on the pricing environment that you see today and the volume environment obviously getting a little bit better, do you think the trajectory of core pricing should be up or do you think given the way you guys calculate it kind of flat at these levels is the better way to think about it?

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

Well, I would just reiterate what Beth said earlier. We're not gonna give the precise answer that you're asking but as Beth said earlier, we're feeling pretty good about the environment and if we're able to achieve real pricing going forward that will show up in our yield calculation.

Amit Mehrotra -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Okay, I thought I'd try anyway, I appreciate it. Let me ask one more and to be fair, this might come across as a little bit of a tough question and it's not meant to be that way it just comes across that way. It's obviously on the OR. If you add back the $65 million headwinds in the quarter, the profitability of the business is still several hundred basis points lower than what CSX reported in the second quarter when arguably I would say Union Pacific has some structural advantages with respect to returns just given the geographic difference.

So I understand obviously this is a tough question but Lance, is there a sense of urgency that's been elevated? If you can just help us think about how your views may be evolving in light of what's happening in the East and how you're managing the railroad even from a customer negotiation standpoint or from a cost standpoint? I'd appreciate it, thank you.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Notwithstanding what any other railroad is doing, you can see our elevated sense of urgency and focus and determination when our headline quote for a quarter where we just generated our record earnings per share and record income is and it could've been better. Because it could've been better, to your point. We called out $65 million in cost in the network that really shielded us from generating much more attractive productivity. We demonstrated we know how to do that. We had underlying productivity that was being generated in the quarter and it's frustrating that we weren't able to drop more of that top line to the bottom line.

As we talk through and shared with you or the team at our investor day, we are laser-focused on getting the network right. We're learning from anyone that we can in terms of better ways to run the network, better ways to generate productivity and efficiency, we've got all of those projects teed up, lined up, it's hard to make them pay off in an environment where you're basically over-resourced in trying to get the service product back up. We are doing that, that will happen, and we will take those excess costs out, which is why we're so confident that we're able to hit that 60 operating ratios in 2020 because we see the underlying strength of the business. Top line's growing, price is attractive, we've got plenty of productivity opportunity and we know how to get at it, we've just got to get rid of these excess costs in the network as we bring our service product back up.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Scott Group with Wolfe Research. Please proceed with your questions.

Scott Group -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Hey, thanks, morning guys. First, can you just clarify what operating ratio you're using for the full year 2017? And then, I just want to follow-up on that last question sort of about CSX and comparison versus you because we've heard the last few quarters you'd talk about; well, we're watching and seeing what other rails are doing and other companies are doing. But it sounds like what we heard today is apart of the fix here is adding more headcount that CSX just took 11% of headcount out. It's clearly working there.

I guess the question is; why aren't we talking about a real sort of change in strategy here to more sort of fully embrace this precision railroading concept that seems to be working. You said, again, we're learning from other things, but is there anything that you see that you're actually implementing that can give us some confidence in the trajectory of the productivity and margin improvement?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

Sure, Scott, I'll take that and then I'll let Rob talk about what 2017 full year operating ratio we're using as a comparator. We discussed this last quarter and also at investor day. There are a number of things that we're already doing that we've learned from somebody else, whether it's the CSX or the CP, CN. One of them is we've reduced our low horsepower fleet by a quarter over the course of the last three years. That has been a fundamental underlying productivity driver even as in '15 and '16 our volumes dropped 12% or 13%. We maintained operating ratio. So that's an example. We talked about the blend and balance pilot that we ran up in the Pacific Northwest that a fair portion of is still in place. We're right now in the process of continuing to blend and balance our network that is deconstruct specialized networks and reconstruct them as shared networks so that we can balance out our resource consumption, whether it's cruise and locomotives.

The thing that's frustrating, Scott, isn't that there's no activity on good ideas to generate more productivity. It's that we really value the service product to our customers and first and foremost, we're gonna give them an excellent service product and we've got a very big broad franchise, which is a strength of ours. We think in the end that's going to generate, if you will, winning in the marketplace. To do that we've got to generate that excellent service product and experience and we're not telling you that we need to add more crews over and above volume. Much different. We're saying we've got to get our crews right so that we can get that service product back. That is happening as we speak and even so in this quarter volume was up 4% and our crew base was up mostly in the training pipeline and the active crew base that was basically flat. We see productivity as being able to happen, we think is merely masked right now. And yeah, there are other initiatives that we've got teed up that we can do and will do.

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

And Scott, the comparison on the OR that we're using for 2017 full year is 62.8. So to your point, we reported a 63 OR. The pension, the impact in '17 was about 0.2 so adjusted it's 62.8 that we're comparing ourselves to. And by the way, the pension impact for us this year will be negligible. We'll call it a tenth headwind for us. But again, our commitment is to improve the OR year-over-year against the 62.8.

Scott Group -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

That's helpful. I just want to make sure I understand one point because you said you don't need to grow headcount as much as volume. I thought TENY headcount though was up 8%? Maybe you can just clarify if that's a training thing and not a --?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

It's all in a training pipeline. I think you understand that the training pipeline lasts about four or five months and it's designed to basically backfill attrition in the TENY workforce. So we supercharged the training pipeline and then as they graduate they're basically backfilling active employees who are retiring or trading out of the workforce. So our active workforce is basically flat to marginally up. And that's what we anticipate. We will not grow the active workforce faster than we're growing volume.

Scott Group -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

Makes sense. Just last question, just pricing. I know you're not gonna forecast pricing. One of the things that some of the rails are starting to give, and it's helpful, they're talking about contract renewals. Can you maybe share where contract renewals are tracking? Is it above this 2% range? Maybe that'll be helpful.

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

I don't think we're gonna start using that as the metric that we measure ourselves by. We're pretty happy with the way we do it in terms of being conservative and seeing actual results before we start forecasting.

Operator

Your next question is from the line of David Vernon with Bernstein. Please proceed with your questions.

David Vernon -- Bernstein -- Analyst

Good morning, guys. Switching gears for a second. The domestic intermodal pickup -- could you talk a little bit about what you guys are doing to actually sort of take a little bit more share in that marketplace? And how we should expect those changes to kind of impact the longer-term growth rate? Is this like a onetime contract wind kind of thing? Or is this actual sort of service design changes that you've been making?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

In domestic intermodal?

David Vernon -- Bernstein -- Analyst

Yeah, you guys said domestic was up in terms of volume.

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

Domestic is up in terms of volume. I would say number one, we are doing a lot of things to go and build relationships directly with the BCOs to make sure that we are able to express the value that you Union Pacific can provide as we have numerously more lanes of intermodal service than our competitor. And so we try to raise the awareness of that with the BCO community and as the truck tightening has occurred, what we've seen is a pretty significant return from that investment that we're making and ensuring BCOs know what we can provide. So we are seeing new customers as well as stronger volumes from existing customers.

David Vernon -- Bernstein -- Analyst

And as you think about the global market strategy on that stuff, the business that you're growing in there, how would that compare on a pricing standpoint relative to the existing base? Is it at an attractive set of rates? I'm just wondering --

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

The way we think about our business is that we always are striving to ensure that we're generating value and good margin that ultimately drives stronger return for the corporation.

Operator

The next question is from the line of Allison Landry with Credit Suisse. Please proceed with your question.

Allison Landry -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Thanks, good morning. So of course, we know about intermodal with respect to the tight truck capacity and the modal conversions but curious to know if you're either seeing or if you think this is an opportunity or if there is an opportunity to convert traffic from the highway in the merchandise segment?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

Yes, I would say so. We are converting traffic from the highway and the merchandise segment. One of the best examples I can give you is line five that's used for drilling; that used to be a heavy truck market. And because it's relatively short-haul out of kind of the Houston gulf port into the Permian and up into Oklahoma but we've put a really targeted business development effort at that and we've been able to convert a significant portion, so we're excited about that. And we have a number of other initiatives across markets but that's maybe one of the best examples I could give you.

Allison Landry -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Okay. And do you think that given some of the dynamics that are happening right now with the driver shortage being worse than we've seen it historically, does that create a bigger opportunity on the merchandise side?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

I think it does. There are a few markets in particular where that's true. One of them is in the fresh and frozen space. The truck availability is really tightened there. There's a lot of demand for that in the east-west long haul and that's something that we're very focused on. Lumber is another one where trucks had penetrated in some areas where we're now seeing people returning to rail and wanting more rail service.

Allison Landry -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

I wanted to also ask about what you're seeing in terms of the network performance in the southern region specifically. You've talked quite a bit about some of the pinch points down there. Just curious if you've seen any sequential improvement in the second quarter and the expectation for the second half?

Cameron Scott -- Chief Operating Officer

The southern region, Allison, has been performing very well in the second quarter. We do see volume coming online from some of the new plant expansions that Beth has mentioned in the past. With some of our new inventory management tools we put in place, we think the southern region will stay solid stepping into the second half of the year.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Jason Seidl with Cowen. Please proceed with your questions.

Jason Seidl -- Cowen -- Analyst

Thank you, operator. Good morning, team. Quick question: When I'm looking at your volume outlook in the second half and I'm comparing that to the first quarter numbers it looks like automotive sales is the one that kind of flipped. It went from a negative to a question mark. I was wondering if you could elaborate a little bit on that?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

In the second quarter, we did see a little bit of strengthening in auto sales. I think you got in June like a 17.5 SAR, which was pretty high compared to what we had been seeing in the earlier part of the year. And the forecast that we see from the OEM those as well as some of our business development efforts appear to make that more of a neutral for us where we thought it was a bit of a negative question mark earlier. I don't think we're gonna see massive growth there or anything but it does feel a little stronger than it felt earlier in the year.

Jason Seidl -- Cowen -- Analyst

Fair enough. And Rob, if I can go below the line, as we look out for the other income line item you sort of gave the guidance for other revenue. I don't know if I heard the other income because you have a pretty tough comp here coming up in 3Q for modeling purposes.

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

You're right, Jason because last year you're calling out a good point. Last year's comp is difficult. We had some unusual transactions that we called out. I would say, generally, and it can be lumpy and it's hard to predict, but I would say somewhere in the $30 million to $40 million quarter range is a reasonable expectation for other income.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Ravi Shankar with Morgan Stanley. Please proceed with your questions.

Ravi Shankar -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Thanks, good morning, everyone. You highlighted petroleum products as a positive and market for you. Can you just give us a little more detail on how you are looking at the Permian opportunity -- how attractive that can potentially be and what you will need to see from the producers there before you get more active there?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

Well, the Permian is an interesting place right now. We are definitely starting to see some reduction even in crude output because of the lack of takeaway capacity. So that's maybe the first time we've seen that in 18 months or so. And there is, as you reference, an emergent opportunity to haul crude by rail out of there, say over the next 18 months while the next pipelines get built. Like I said, we do think it's a short-term situation so we will not invest to support that. But as we have capacity in our network, we are working closely with the producers to see what we can bring to rail and I do expect we'll see some results from that in the third and fourth quarter.

Ravi Shankar -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Understood. And Lance, going back to the whole UNP versus CSX if I may. I think there tends to be a hyper-focus on the OR as a stand-alone number without focusing on overall sustainable growth. And I think that you guys are growing volumes at a relatively decent base compared to the whole railroad group. So can you remind us on your philosophy on volume growth versus OR and how you determine which one you go off at any point or time -- particularly at this point in the cycle?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

Sure, and you're exactly right, Ravi. We care about a number of measures to demonstrate whether or not we're running eh business well over the long-term. The highest order is generating growing operating income and growing cash from operations. That's the source of being able to reward our shareholders so that's what we focus on first and foremost. And we actually had a pretty damn good first half in that context. Now, having said that, there are a couple of key measures that we care about. One is ROIC, and that is are we efficiently using resources and being wise with investor capital? And the other is OR, and that is, are we efficiently dropping topline to the bottom-line?

At this point, it's appropriate to focus on OR and say we're disappointed with our ability to efficiently drop topline to the bottom-line. That doesn't mean we can't do it, it means we didn't demonstrate doing that in the second quarter. We have all the confidence in the world that we're able to do that both over the long run and rectifying that here in the short term. Then the last thing I would talk about, Ravi, is we run the business for all four stakeholders, right? In the very long run building long-term enterprise value we have to generate returns for the shareholders, build their confidence; we have to generate excellent experience with our customers so that they want to keep doing business with us. We have to help our employees feel fulfilled and connected to the work and our communities that we serve have to feel like we're a good partner so that our social license to operate with them is healthy and strong and you hit it just right, Ravi, we think about all of that when we're running the business.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Justin Long with Stephens. Please proceed with your questions.

Justin Long -- Stephens -- Analyst

Thanks and good morning. Just to start with a couple of modeling questions. I was wondering if you have a ballpark expectation on the level of share buybacks you're planning to complete in the second half of this year. And then on coal, I think I heard you mention a contract change. Any additional color you could provide on that and the impact?

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

Justin, I would say that I don't have any more to tell you on the share buyback. At this point, you know the ASR that we did, the rest of opportunities would be opportunistic in the marketplace and remember that we've set out a $20 billion buyback over the three year period or so but it's not gonna be a straight line each quarter so we'll be opportunistic.

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

So on a coal contract change, we call that a couple of things. We have some retirements and we also had some contract change. And those were about equivalent in size in terms of millions of tons that we saw leaving us. I don't think we're gonna give you any specifics on that but I guess that's all I've got to say about it.

Justin Long -- Stephens -- Analyst

Could you speak to what Coal Vines would've looked like ex both of those items -- the headwind from the retirement and the contract change?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

I would call it a combination of the two less than 10%.

Justin Long -- Stephens -- Analyst

That's helpful. If you go back historically, you've typically seen a sequential improvement in the OR during the third quarter. I think last year was one of the rare exceptions. I'm not asking for specific guidance but just directionally, is there anything that would prevent you from seeing normal seasonality and a sequential improvement in the OR in the third quarter?

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

Justin, I would say you're right, it is difficult to draw any conclusion from that but, having said that, we are, as we've talked this morning, feeling good about the environment. We've raised our volume guidance for the full year. You heard Beth talk about our confidence in terms of the market, what's happening in the pricing. And our focus on taking the inefficiency costs out aggressively. So without putting a guidance number for the third quarter OR, we're gonna aggressively do the best we can and we have to make progress immediately, which we're focused on, to improve the OR year-over-year.

Operator

Your next question comes from the line of Matt Reustle with Goldman Sachs. Please proceed with your question.

Matt Reustle -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Good morning, thanks for taking the question. Just one on higher fuel prices. I understand it's essentially EBIT neutral but it's been a pretty big drag on the OR year to date. So is that something you can offset in the back half of the year and is there an inherent fuel price assumption in your forecast for the back half of the year?

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

Let me take that, Matt. I think you probably know -- I mean, we have some 60 different types of fuel recovery mechanisms so they're kind of all different. And there's generally speaking about it two-month lag in terms of those catching up with the price of fuel. In the long haul, the fuel recovery mechanisms should neutralize over time, certainly in the second quarter from an EPS standpoint it was neutral. Rising fuel prices, even if we're recovering 100% at a particular point in time, can have an impact negatively on the OR just because of the math of it. So that's how it works. So we have to kind of live with that reality and our focus and we've done a good job over the years of minimizing the negative impact of rising fuel prices through the some 60+ different fuel surcharge mechanisms.

Matt Reustle -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

I guess it has been a drag for the first half. Are you expecting that drag to continue into the second half? Because you mentioned it's just math but you're guiding to this improvement, which seems like it's gonna be fairly tough if you continue to see that way on margins on top of the ongoing network expenses that you'll have in the third quarter.

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

Matt, I would just say, I can't give you a number because it's contingent upon what happens with fuel prices.

Matt Reustle -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Second question just on frack sand -- you mentioned tougher comps coming in the second half along with the impact of a local mine. In terms of those local mines, have you seen any shift in terms of the timing of those coming online and is the tight trucking market changing those dynamics at all? Have you been having those conversations with customers where you expect to see a material impact from the back half of the year or is that shifting out to 2019? Any color on that's helpful.

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

They did come up more slowly than we expected and they were delayed. However, they seemed to be now kind of hitting their stride and I think some of it's a combination of supply and some of it's the slowdown in production that's happening because of the lack of takeaway capacity. But June was the first month that we had this year where frank sand into the Permian was lower than a year ago. And I would expect to see that continue as they gain more and more adoption, especially on the coarse meshes of the local sand. So yeah, it started to decline and it will continue. On the positive side, we've been able to develop and have seen good growth in all of the other shale plays. The Eagleford came on strong in the second quarter, we're seeing nice growth in the Oklahoma shale and in Colorado so we will, of course, continue our business development efforts but the Permian is in decline, I would say.

Operator

The next question is from the line of Chris Wetherbee with Citi. Please proceed with your questions.

Chris Wetherbee -- Citi -- Analyst

Wanted to ask Rob just a point of clarity first on the service related cost of 65 million -- is that cumulative or is that sort of second quarter and how does that relate relative to the 40 that you reported in the first quarter?

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes, the 65 million of inefficiency costs in the second quarter was just the second quarter and that does compare to -- I mean, showed up differently -- but it does compare to the 40 million in efficiency costs that we called out in the first quarter.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

Chris, when we talked about that in the first quarter, we said there was gonna be a hangover effect even as we were anticipating improving service product in the network and that's because we were putting those resources in through the first quarter so there were more exit in the first quarter than entering the first quarter. And so they've just lingered longer than we anticipated.

Chris Wetherbee -- Citi -- Analyst

Okay. And when you think about in that context the tunnel, which I know Rob said was 6 million but had a bigger halo effect than that, does that sort of capture the entire increment if you think 1Q to 2Q or is this sort of the timing of those aspects? Just want to get a sense of where we're actually seeing improvement there because it seems like maybe there are some incremental costs that weren't in the first quarter.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

Chris, the way to think about that is; so we were building in these incremental costs to bring the service product back up. We anticipated as a service product was coming back up, which it was in the first two months of the quarter, that we would be actively then taking those incremental resources out. The tunnel collapse forced us to keep them in and basically keep them in longer in order to kind of maintain a service product because it was a pretty impactful location. On our network, we've got big east-west movements on the sunset route in the northern east-west corridor and then the other two big routes for us are Chicago down to Mexico on the I5 and it essentially shut down the I5.

Chris Wetherbee -- Citi -- Analyst

Quick follow-up for Beth on the core price. Not to belabor the point here but you had ex coal and international intermodal accelerate from Q1 to Q2 but core stayed the same all in. When you think about coal and international intermodal, is it getting more negative or is it getting worse I should say? From Q1 to Q2 or is there some other kind of mixed dynamic that impacts that number?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

I think you're making a safe assumption.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Walter Spracklin with RBC.

Walter Spracklin -- RBC -- Analyst

Thanks very much, good morning everyone. I do want to come back to the pricing but I don't want to exclude coal and international intermodal and instead ask a more general question based on investor feedback I'm getting. And that is, rather than you give us guidance on price, make the comment that I'm hearing that your ability to drive price because of the inclusion of international intermodal and coal combined with the competitive environment with BN might suggest that you can never achieve core pricing above and beyond or even half of what other railroads can achieve. If that's a statement, can you indicate where it might be wrong in terms of that emerging view on your pricing and perhaps correct it if you can?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

We need to correct that assumption or statement, which is we can never achieve pricing the same as any other competitive railroad. Our dynamic in pricing is just that it's dynamic. The competitive forces change, they change over time, sometimes they change quickly. Right now we love the environment that we're pricing into when it comes to truck competitive product. And there are some other markets that we're pricing into that are facing different pricing competitive dynamics. Those aren't set in stone. It's not like that's a law of nature. Those will and do shift and I anticipate we're gonna continue to price appropriately for the value that we represent and generating a really attractive return.

Walter Spracklin -- RBC -- Analyst

So is it just the basics of a cycle we're in where mix is not going your way but it is going the way of the others that are getting 4% to 5% pricing? It's just a bad timing? Is that what you're saying?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

What I'm saying is exactly what I just said, which is we price for the value, we're pricing for an attractive return, we're pricing in a competitive dynamic and those move a lot and it's generally a good market to be pricing in right now. And the other thing I would say is, remember exactly how we talk about price. We talk about yield and absolute yield dollars over total book a business. It's a nice, conservative, consistent way for us to measure ourselves in terms of yield that we're achieving and we're pretty optimistic as we look into the second quarter.

Walter Spracklin -- RBC -- Analyst

Again, back to the question on operating ratio. If I could reframe the question and simply ask if you could maybe in broad categories -- why are you not at a better operating ratio today? If you were to look at the others and say, why is Union Pacific not with the others in terms of operating ratio today? What would you point to as the main reasons?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

I'll start by saying we are actually better than the others, although the CSX just produced a very good second quarter so I'm not sure I want to go backwards to join the rest of the pack. But having said that, there are some very specific cost elements that are in the way right now that we are actively getting out of the way and I'll let Cameron speak to those and what we're doing about it.

Cameron Scott -- Chief Operating Officer

As velocity comes back to our network, one particular area is the size of our locomotive fleet. And that has a positive impact in three different areas: material to keep that fleet up and running, employee costs involved in working on those locomotives, and then fuel usage as well to move the tonnage that we have on our network. So as velocity returns, we'll be very aggressive and rightsizing that fleet.

Walter Spracklin -- RBC -- Analyst

And correcting for those will give you a better generation toward a sub-60 and I know you still have a 55 OR target there. What gives us comfort that the 55 are achievable within a reasonable investment horizon?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

The 65 million that we called out is excess recovering costs in the network this quarter. That's entirely over time and kind of inefficient use of crews. Incremental cost of maintaining locomotive as Cameron just outlined. A c-rate that's both impacted by all the locomotive fleet as well as inefficient use of those locomotives. And then a handful of other nits and nats, which is mostly kind of like care, hire for excess inventory. All of that is addressable and when we remove that, we have a much more attractive second quarter and not only that, but that doesn't count the productivity initiatives that's retarding from accelerating even further. So we're very confident in the 60 by 2020.

Operator

Our next question is from the line of Ben Hartford with Robert W. Baird.

Ben Hartford -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Good morning everyone. Rob, could you clarify what to expect the tax rate to be in the back half of the year?

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

For the full year, we're projecting it's gonna end up being around somewhere 24-ish so I think it's reasonable to assume it's gonna be around that 24 in the back half.

Ben Hartford -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

And then in terms of just staying on the point about intermodal. Could you size up the UMAX and the EMP fleet as it stands today? What are the expectations for that finishing this year and perhaps 2019 if we could have any sort of direction that front?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

Are you asking about the number of containers? Oh boy, that's a stumper. I think it's around 40,000 each but I will confirm that back to Mike and make sure that we get you the exact number. But it's something like that.

Ben Hartford -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

That's a present number?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

That's a present number. We have some small additions we're making this year but nothing that really moves the needle.

Ben Hartford -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

And that would be for both of those fleets?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

They're roughly the same size.

Ben Hartford -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Right and in terms of just small additions in just both fleets in the back half of the year?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

Small additions only in the EMP fleet.

Ben Hartford -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

And then any thoughts about '19 as we look -- obviously rising truckload rates generally, presume service improvement, and an eye toward domestic intermodal being used in 2019, any thought as it relates to capacity needs in '19 and potential additions to either of those fleets?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

We are currently looking at what we think we might need in 2019. We have some attractive business development opportunities as you suggest but we haven't quite zeroed in on a number yet and we do have some fallout as well so we'll be looking to acquire containers. I don't think we know how many yet.

Ben Hartford -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Is it possible if you have positives -- let's say single-digit type growth -- in domestic intermodal in 2019, are there enough opportunities to improve service and velocity such that net adds could possibly be flat in 2019 to both of those fleets?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

We're just really still in that evaluation process. I'm not sure what to tell you about that at this point. I think it'll get clearer as we get toward the end of the year.

Operator

Next question is from the line of Cherilyn Radbourne with TD Securities.

Cherilyn Radbourne -- TD Securities -- Analyst

Thanks very much and good morning. Wanted to get you to comment on this peak season in a couple of respects. Firstly, one of the things that we're hearing anecdotally is that the peak season may have arrived early and potentially as early as June as BCOs try to get ahead of tariffs. Just wondering if that's a dynamic you've been observing in your business?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

I would not say that we think the peak is arriving early so much as I would say there's a strong demand because of tighter truck capacity. It still feels like they'll be a peak that's kind of in its normal time period.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

That's really encouraging, Cherilyn, right? From the standpoint of -- it's not like peak's happening now and then it's gonna die off during normal peak. It feels like we've got strong volume entering what feels like it's gonna be a normal peak which is really attractive.

Cherilyn Radbourne -- TD Securities -- Analyst

Okay, and in terms of just your readiness operationally, it sounds like you're feeling good. The other thing I wanted to ask about is, it does sound like it could be a robust peak. Is there any reason to be concerned about the readiness of the Chicago gateway in that context?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

I don't think so absent let's say product design changes that potentially goof up the network. If the network stays as designed right now among all the participants that interchange at Chicago, Chicago's operating pretty well absent every once in awhile there's a little hiccup here or there. But I think in its current format with the benefits of 12 years that create that have been invested, Chicago should be OK. The one thing to keep your eye on is if anybody starts altering their plans around interchange for intermodal that could have an impact.

Operator

The next question is from the line of Bascome Majors with Susquehanna.

Bascome Majors -- Susquehanna -- Analyst

In response to Allison's questions earlier, you gave some anecdotal examples about share gained from truck into the merchandise business at a micro level. I was curious, do you guys track the opportunity in conversion impact at a macro level? Is this something that you think over the next year or two could really add points to either overall growth or merchandise growth and aggregate?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

We're certainly always watching what is moving out there in the transportation world and what of that we think is convertible to rail either from truck or barge or some other mode of transportation. Clearly, we're using that as a business development tool all the time. What I would say is, I think that those tend to be base hits of some sort. They don't tend to be home runs, those conversions, so we have to pile up a bunch of them to move the needle but that's what we're here to do and the team's actively working on that all the time.

Bascome Majors -- Susquehanna -- Analyst

I appreciate that. You also made some comments about feeling pretty good about the supply demand balance in your pricing power and the domestic intermodal market looking out beyond this year. Do you think your pricing in the domestic business can be better next year than this year at this point just given how the market's progressing and when you were able to price this year's numbers?

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

I'm not sure how to answer that. I think if you keep having tight supply, obviously that's gonna allow everybody to be in an environment where you can achieve hopefully two things: volume growth and pricing growth. The way we calculate our numbers, as people have told you, is somewhat backward looking so some of the impacts from the ability to get pricing that we're doing right now you're gonna continue to see as you go out over the next several quarters.

Operator

This concludes the question and answer session. I will now till the call back over the Lance Fritz for closing comments.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Rob, and thank you all for joining us this morning and for your questions. We look forward to talking with you again after the end of the third quarter in October.

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's teleconference. You may disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you for your participation and have a wonderful day.

Duration: 77 minutes

Call participants:

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

Beth Whited -- Chief Marketing Officer

Cameron Scott -- Chief Operating Officer

Rob Knight -- Chief Financial Officer

Tom Wadewitz -- UBS -- Analyst

Brian Ossenbeck -- JP Morgan -- Analyst

Ken Hoexter -- Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Brandon Oglenski -- Barclays -- Analyst

Amit Mehrotra -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Scott Group -- Wolfe Research -- Analyst

David Vernon -- Bernstein -- Analyst

Ravi Shankar -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Justin Long -- Stephens -- Analyst

Matt Reustle -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Chris Wetherbee -- Citi -- Analyst

Walter Spracklin -- RBC -- Analyst

Ben Hartford -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Cherilyn Radbourne -- TD Securities -- Analyst

Bascome Majors -- Susquehanna -- Analyst

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