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Union Pacific Corporation (UNP) Q3 2021 Earnings Call Transcript

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UNP earnings call for the period ending September 30, 2021.

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Union Pacific Corporation (UNP 0.45%)
Q3 2021 Earnings Call
Oct 21, 2021, 8:45 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Greetings. Welcome to Union Pacific's Third Quarter 2021 Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded and the slides for today's presentation are available on Union Pacific's website.

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Mr. Lance Fritz, Chairman, President and CEO for Union Pacific. Mr. Fritz, you may begin.

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Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Rob, and good morning everybody. Welcome to Union Pacific's Third Quarter Earnings Conference call. With me today in Omaha are Kenny Rocker, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales; Eric Gehringer, Executive Vice President of Operations; and Jennifer Hamann, our Chief Financial Officer.

During the quarter, the Union Pacific team dealt with multiple network disruptions that required us to rebuild bridges, reroute trains and connect more closely with other links in the supply chain to support and to serve our customers while we still have work ahead, our employees' dedication is a critical success factor in navigating all of those challenges.

Turning to our third quarter results. This morning, Union Pacific is reporting 2021 third quarter net income of $1.7 billion or $2.57 per share. This compares to $1.4 billion or $2.01 per share in the third quarter of 2020 despite the network and global supply chain challenges our quarterly operating ratio of 56.3% improved 240 basis points versus last year and represents a third quarter record. We also set 3rd quarter records in operating income, net income and earnings per share. The team did an excellent job of managing the business to produce strong results a comparison to 2019 a period with higher volumes further highlights our performance and demonstrates our focus on driving productivity and network efficiency to overcome external factors. We also continue to make progress on our goal to reduce our carbon footprint. The team achieved strong productivity to produce an all-time quarterly record low fuel consumption rate. This represented a 1% improvement versus 2020 and helped our customers eliminate 5.7 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. In the quarter by using Union Pacific versus truck, momentum is building and before the end of the year, we plan to detail our emissions reduction plan with the release of our initial Climate Action Plan.

So let's start the morning with Kenny for an update on the business environment.

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Thank you, Lance, and good morning. Before I talk about our market performance. I want to thank our operating team for their tireless efforts this past summer to recover the network from the devastating forest fires in California. Focusing back on our review of the business, our 3rd quarter volume was flat compared to a year ago. Gains in our bulk and industrial segments were driven by market strength in our business development efforts. Those gains were offset by declines in our premium business group as our served markets continue to be impacted by semiconductor chip shortages and global supply chain disruption, however, freight revenue was up 12%, driven by higher fuel surcharges, strong pricing gains and a positive mix.

Let's take a closer look at each of these business group, starting out with our bulk commodities. Revenue for the quarter was up 14% compared to last year, driven by a 4% increase in volume and a 9% increase in average revenue per car, reflecting strong core pricing gains and higher fuel surcharge revenue. Coal and renewable carloads grew 9% year-over-year and 17% from the second quarter. Our efforts to switch customers to index-based contracts are supporting domestic coal demand as a result of higher natural gas prices coupled with increased coal exports.

Grain and grain products were down 1% compared to last year and down 9% from the second quarter, due primarily to lower US grain stocks. However, this was partially offset by our business development efforts and strong demand for biofuels. Fertilizer carloads were up 10% year-over-year due to strong agricultural demand and increased export potash shipment. And finally, food and refrigerated volume was flat year-over-year and sequentially from the second quarter.

Moving on to industrial, industrial revenue improved 22% for the quarter, driven by a 14% increase in volume. Average revenue per car also improved 6% driven by higher fuel surcharge core pricing gains and positive mix. Energy and specialized shipments were up 16% compared to last year and up 5% versus the second quarter, the gains were due to an increase in petroleum products as demand recovers from this time last year, and new business wins from Mexico energy reform. Volume from forest products grew 15% year-over-year primarily driven by demand for brown paper used in corrugated boxes along with strong housing starts driving lumber shipments. However, compared to the second quarter volume was down 2% due to the impact of the lot of fire in Northern California.

Industrial chemicals and plastic shipments were up 6% year-over-year due to strengthening demand and business wins that production rate for plastic improved from 2020. Metals and minerals volume was up 21% compared to 2020 and up 3% versus the second quarter, primarily driven by our business development effort along with strong steel demand as industrial markets recover coupled with favorable comps for frac sand.

Turning now to premium revenue for the quarter was up 1% as a 9% decrease in volume was more than offset by higher average revenue per car. ARC increased by 11% from higher fuel surcharges and core pricing gains. Automotive volume was down 18% compared to last year and down 4% versus the second quarter. Semiconductor shortages had an adverse impact to both our finished vehicles and auto parts business segment.

Intermodal volume decreased 6% year-over-year and 8% compared to the second quarter. International volume continue to face challenges from global supply chain disruption with regard to domestic, strong demand and new business wins were also hampered by supply chain disruptions, plus e-commerce business all tough comp versus last year.

Now looking ahead to the 4th quarter of 2021. Starting out with our bulk commodities, we're optimistic about grain business due to another strong harvest and grain export demand. Also grain products will continue to benefit from growth of the biofuel market food and refrigerated volume should be positive with increased consumer demand, post pandemic restaurant reopenings and truck penetration growth.

Lastly, we expect coal to remain strong for the remainder of the year based on our current natural gas futures, inventory replenishment, as well as export demand. Looking at -- looking at our industrial markets. We continue to be encouraged by the strength of the forecast for industrial production for the rest of 2021, which will positively impact many of our markets like metals and forest. The year-over-year comps to our energy markets are favorable. However, we expect narrow spreads will negatively impact crude by rail shipment, but on a positive note, we expect to mitigate the lower cruise shipments with strengthened other petroleum and LPG product.

And lastly for premium, we anticipate continued challenges in automotive related for semiconductor shortages for the 4th quarter. In regards to intermodal, limited truck capacity, inventory restocking and strength in retail sales will continue to drive intermodal demand in the 4th quarter. However, we expect international volumes to be constrained as ocean carriers have recently taken additional actions to speed up their container returns as challenges in labor, port capacity, warehouses and drayage persist.

And on the domestic side, opportunities will face continued supply chain challenges with limited Holloway capacity and floor chassis turn time. Overall, I'm encouraged by the opportunities in front of us for the rest of 2021 but more importantly, I want to recognize the commercial team, as they continue to focus on providing solutions for our customers to win in the marketplace. As we had in the 2022, our commercial team is driving growth through new business plan.

Most notably we are taking more trucks off the road and all 3 of our business group and with that, I'll turn it over to Eric to review our operational performance.

Eric Gehringer -- Executive Vice President of Operations

Thanks. Kenny and good morning. I'd like to begin by thanking the entire operating department for their dedication and hard work to manage through the challenges we faced during the quarter. From wildfires to mudslides and hurricanes, the team demonstrated perseverance to restore our network and deliver strong financial results.

In addition, as Kenny just described, the demand picture has turned out differently than we expected at the beginning of the year. Working closely with marketing the operating team has adjusted transportation plans and added resources into the network for surging demand in coal, metals, lumber and grain. These actions demonstrate the agility and strength of our franchise.

Taking a look at our key performance metrics for the quarter on slide 9. Driven by wildfires and weather events during the quarter our freight car velocity and trip plan compliance metrics deteriorated compared to 2020. Freight car velocity decreased due to increased terminal dwell and higher operating inventory levels, which led to lower trip plan compliance results. Our entire team has been fully engaged on restoring network fluidity and the recovery is progressing. We are seeing improvement in our metrics with reduced up car inventory and improved freight car velocity. Our reported weekly metrics show the time required to recover the network from these events. While we made improvement from our freight car velocity weekly low of 184 in August, to 210 miles per day in the last 2 weeks of September, our goal remains to return freight car velocity toward and 220 miles per day. Our intermodal trip plan compliance results improved and on August the low of 61% to gain 12 points in September to 73%.

Our manifest and auto trip plan compliance results improved from 57% in August to 61% in September. We recognize improving trip plan compliance is critical to support our customers and our long-term growth strategy. We have maintained higher crew and locomotive resources in the short term to assist and reducing excess car inventories to drive increased fluidity. As operating car inventory declines, we will quickly adjust resources to current volume levels. Our cooperation and work with partners at the West Coast ports have reduced rail container dwell back to more normal levels, and with the Biden administration's efforts to expand operations at the port to ease congestion, we stand ready to move more rail containers provided that point further along the supply chain can handle increased volume. While there is still work to be done, the team is confident in our ability to restore service to the levels our customers expect and deserve.

Turning to slide 6, we continue to make good progress on our efficiency initiatives, however, disruptions during the quarter impacted these results as well. Locomotive productivity declined 8% compared to a year ago as we deployed additional resources to handle traffic reroutes. Our record 3rd quarter workforce productivity was driven by efficiencies in our Engineering, Mechanical and management workforces and offset slightly by increases in train and engine workforce to address our network recovery. We continued our focus on increasing train length, achieving a 4% improvement from the 3rd quarter 2020 to approximately 9,360 feet. Now that the bridge has been restored, the team is again driving productivity through increasing train length as evidenced in our September train length growth to over 9,500ft.

Turning to slide 11. Our ability to grow train length is also enabled by the completion of 9 sidings to date in 2021 with an additional 26 under construction or in the final planning stages. These investments will enable a more reliable and efficient service product for future growth. We also produced a record quarterly fuel consumption rate improving 1% compared to last year. Through productivity initiatives and technology improvements, we were able to offset most of the inefficiencies stemming from the wildfires. The operating department understands the importance we play in achieving our long-term greenhouse gas emission goals and have more work underway. Our approach is multi-pronged with the primary emphasis around our locomotive fleet, both looking at alternative energies as well as biofuel.

As we drive productivity and manage the various network challenges in 2021. The health and safety of our workforce is paramount, although our year-to-date employee safety results have not shown improvement in 2020 recent monthly trends provide positive momentum for the team to build upon. Again, our approach is across a number of fronts, including employee engagement, broader deployment of technology as well as looking externally for best practices. Additionally, we reduced cost of rail equipment incidents during the quarter. We are encouraged by the improvement but know that we must maintain focus on promoting a safe working environment to reduce employee injuries. So everyone goes home safe each day.

Safe operations also have a direct impact on our service product. So this work will benefit all stakeholders. Wrapping up on slide 12, as we look to close out 2021, I have the utmost confidence that we will continue to improve safety, increased network fluidity, improve our service product and drive productivity as we support business growth with our customers. With that I will turn it over to Jennifer to review our financial performance.

Jennifer Hamann -- Chief Financial Officer

Thanks Eric, and good morning. As you heard from Lance union Pacific achieved strong 3rd quarter financial results with earnings per share of $2.57 on an operating ratio of 56.3%. As noted in an 8-K last month, we incurred additional expense this quarter related to wildfires, and weather the full impact of those events including loss revenue negatively impacted our operating ratio of 50 basis points and earnings per share by $0.05. Rising fuel prices throughout the quarter, negatively impacted operating ratio by 140 basis points. However, the year-over-year impact of our fuel surcharge programs added $0.05 to EPS.

Setting aside these exogenous issues, UP's core operational performance drove operating ratio improvement of 430 basis points and added $0.56 to EPS. Our performance demonstrates the resiliency and efficiency built into our franchise through PSR even when operating in less than ideal conditions.

Looking now at our 3rd quarter income statement on Slide 15 where we're showing a comparison to both 3rd quarter 2020 as well as 3rd quarter 2019. The comparison of 2021 to 2019 most clearly illustrates the efficiency we've achieved over the past 2 years, as we generated 9% higher operating income on 4% less volume. For 3rd quarter 2021, the operating revenue up 13% and operating expense only up 9%. We generated 3rd quarter record operating income of $2.4 billion, net income of $1.7 billion and earnings per share also with 3rd quarter records.

Looking more closely at 3rd quarter revenue. Slide 16 provides a breakdown of our freight revenue both year-over-year and sequentially versus the second quarter. Freight revenue totaled $5.2 billion in the 3rd quarter, up 12% compared to 2020 and 1% compared to second quarter. Looking first at the year-over-year analysis, although volume was flat, the overall demand environment remains strong and supports pricing actions that yield dollars exceeding inflation. On a year-over-year basis, those gains were further supplemented by a positive business mix, driving 650 basis points in total improvement. Lower intermodal shipments, combined with higher industrial shipments drove that positive mix.

Fuel surcharges increased freight revenue 600 basis points compared to last year as our fuel surcharge programs continue to chase rising fuel prices. Looking at freight revenue sequentially, lower volume versus the second quarter decreased rate revenue 250 basis points, highlighted by the factors that Kenny highlighted. Continued core pricing gains and a more positive business mix. Increased freight revenue 75 basis points on a sequential basis, driven by that same combination of higher industrial carloads and lower intermodal shipments. Finally, rise in fuel prices and the resulting uptick in sequential fuel surcharges increased freight revenue 125 basis points.

Now let's move on to Slide 17 which provides a summary of our 3rd quarter operating expenses, which increased 9% in total versus 2020. The primary driver of the increase was fuel expense, up 81% as a result of a 74% increase in fuel prices, a small offset to the higher prices was a 1% improvement in our fuel consumption rate. Better efficiency was a product of both our business mix and productivity initiatives, which offset inefficiencies associated with wildfires in the quarter.

Looking further at the other expense line. Compensation and benefits expense was up 3% versus 2020. Third quarter workforce levels were down 1% compared to last year despite our train and engine workforce growing 3%. This increase reflects the additional crews needed to navigate the network impact from bridge outages and whether. Management, engineering and mechanical workforces together decreased 3%. Wage inflation along with higher recrew and overtime costs associated with our network issues increased cost per employee 4% while still a tad elevated this level of per employee compensation increase is more in line with future expectations.

Purchased services and materials expense was flat, as higher locomotive and freight car maintenance associated with the larger active fleet was offset by reduced contractor expense. And with automotive shipments forecasted to remain soft for at least the balance of the year, we now expect purchased services and material expense to only be up low-single digits for full year versus 2020. Equipment and other rents was flat consistent with volume. Other expense decreased 10% or $29 million this quarter, driven primarily by lower write-offs of in progress capital projects in 2021. As we look ahead to the 4th quarter. Recall that last year we incurred a one-time $278 million non-cash impairment charge in this expense category.

Looking now at our efficiency results on Slide 18 operating challenges during the quarter, again impacted our productivity, which totaled $45 million. In total for 2021 productivity is at 280 million dollars led by our train length improvement and locomotive productivity offset by roughly $55 million of weather and incident related headwinds. Our incremental margins in the quarter were a very strong 94% driven by solid pricing gains, positive business mix as well as continued efficiency. PSR clearly gives us the platform to add volumes to our network in an extremely efficient manner.

Turning to Slide 19, year-to-date cash from operations increased to $6.5 billion from $6 billion in 2020, a 9% increase. Our cash flow conversion rate was a strong 95% and year-to-date free cash flow increased $728 million or 38% driven by higher net income and lighter year-to-date, capital spend compared to last year. Supported by our strong cash generation and cash balances, we've returned $7.9 billion to shareholders year-to-date through dividends and share repurchases. Actions taken during the year include increasing our industry-leading dividend by 10% in May and repurchasing $27.5 million shares, totaling $5.9 billion. We finished the 3rd quarter with a comparable adjusted debt-to-EBITDA ratio of 2.8 times, which is on par with second quarter. We remain committed to returning great value to our owners and are demonstrating that again this year.

Wrapping things up on Slide 20, as you heard from Kenny, the overall economic environment remains positive. It provides confidence for the future growth of our company. Bulk is driven by strong grain volumes and coal continues to exceed expectations. Industrial volumes remain consistent and strong across many sectors like forest products, metals and plastics. So we are bullish on several fronts, but as you also well aware headwinds and autos and Intermodal persist, global supply chain disruptions, semiconductor shortages and the additional pressure with international intermodal volumes that Kenny just described continue to constrain our premium volume. So, balancing these variables and with just over 2 months left in the year, we now expect volume to be up closer to 5% for full year 2021. We are also adjusting our productivity guidance for the year, down to $350 million as the weather impact and related network challenges impede the progress we expect to make with our efficiency in 2021. To put that in context, however, at the end of this year we will have generated almost $1.8 billion of productivity since our implementation of PSR in late 2018. So great work overall by the team. And more importantly, this lower cost structure and improved service product provide Union Pacific the foundation for future growth and strong incremental margins.

Lower expectations for volume and productivity are headwinds to our 2021 operating goal. In addition, we've seen fuel prices continue to rise and pressure margins. In fact, over the last 30 days, barrel prices have increased around $10 with spot diesel prices up over $0.25 per gallon. Offsetting some of this margin pressure is a positive business mix and strong pricing environment. So, all in, we now expect our full year operating ratio improvement to be in the neighborhood of 175 basis point or not quite to the high end of the guidance range we established back in January, we view that level of improvement as another great milestone on our journey to 55.x operating ratio in 2022, especially in light of the unexpected headwinds we've had to overcome to get here.

Wrapping it up, it was a tough quarter operationally. We made great strides to strengthen our franchise and achieved solid results. In fact, we stand poised to finish 2021 as Union Pacific's most profitable year ever. That achievement would not be possible without our tremendous employees. So we're on the front lines every day serving our customers safely and efficiently while producing these record results. My thanks go out to team UP. So with that, I'll turn it back to Lance.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Jennifer. One area of continued focus by the team as you heard us talk about this morning is safety. While our safety metrics lag 2020 there are some positive signs, including strong September results that indicate we're taking the right actions to produce desired long-term results. The entire team understands that safety is foundational to everything we do at Union Pacific. Our service product has shown improvement over the past 60 days. But there is still work to be done with increasing volumes related to the grain harvest and intermodal peak season approaching. We understand the importance of delivering for our customers. The opportunity to provide freight solutions to our customers is strong and gives us confidence that our long-term goals for growth remain intact.

And as you heard from Kenny even with macroeconomic headwinds, we're winning with our customers, while supply chain disruptions will likely persist in the next year, we see our 3rd quarter and year-to-date results as proof of our team's ability to perform in the face of significant challenges as headwinds turned to tailwinds, we're well positioned to build off our success and deliver even more value to our stakeholders.

So with that, let's open up the line for your questions.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Thank you. At this time, we'll be conducting a question-and-answer session. [Operator Instructions] And our first question comes from the line of Scott Group with Wolfe Research. Please proceed with your question.

Scott Group -- Wolfe Research

Hey thanks. Morning, guys. So, Jennifer, you've been highlighting strong incremental margins year-to-date. I guess I'm wondering why that doesn't continue in the 4th quarter. I think the guidance implies a flattish despite some really good pricing I think 4Q had some one-time bonuses a year ago. So maybe just some thoughts on why the incrementals aren't better in 4th quarter. And does this in any way change the outlook on the 55OR for 2022.

Jennifer Hamann -- Chief Financial Officer

Let me start with that second part Scott because it in no way changes how we're looking at 2022. We absolutely believe we will still achieve those targets in 2022 consistent with what we talked about in our May Analyst meeting. In terms of some of the pressures year-over-year, I mean, it really is a lot driven by fuel, the cost per gallon if I'm looking at it year-over-year is going to be up anywhere from, call it 75% to 80% and that's just very tough to overcome especially with flat volumes because that's essentially how we're looking at things and we think about our volume guidance in the 5% for full year. So while we're still expecting to be efficient we just as we're continuing to resource some of the network fluidity that's going to have some pressure on that and that's what's being reflected in the guidance that we provided there.

Scott Group -- Wolfe Research

And just on -- that's a pressure to the operating ratio, but not necessarily earnings pressure?

Jennifer Hamann -- Chief Financial Officer

Operating ratio pressure. Yes, Scott. Thank you.

Scott Group -- Wolfe Research

All right, thank you.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

All right. Thanks, Scott.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Ken Hector with Bank of America. Please proceed with your question.

Unidentified Participant

Great, thanks, good morning. Maybe just a little bit of following up but Kenny as you think about that deceleration of 5% growth from 7% which I guess Jen said it's flat, it seems like it's 1% growth in the, maybe a little acceleration in the 4th quarter. You may be talk about puts and takes on that and then more specifically the port of LA noted, they're seeing some significant rail improvement. Can you talk about if you're being -- if you're able to move the freight, how is the supply chain? Can you get the boxes inland and is there anything improving inland at the warehouses are chassis shortages, especially as we are at peak or moving past peak, are you seeing any improvement in the fluidity there? Thanks.

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Alright [inaudible] few questions. So we'll get a lot hard and Eric you will help me out a little bit here. So first of all just just walking down our business. If you look at it, we expect our coal business that have the same run rate. They have this quarter. You see where the future numbers are. We'll see where that takes us into the first part of 2022 on the grain side, we'd be really happy if we can get to a flattish year-over-year. Look, we'll see how that plays out. Maybe we get there if we don't get there maybe were up a cornerstone off.

Looking at our industrial business, boy, it's a lot of opportunities in front of us. I've been really excited about the fact that the commercial team there has been able to win business. We're seeing it show up on the petrochem side, the production rates are going up from earlier in the year on the metal side also, a lot of strong wins business development wins that we're seeing and it's also showing up. So we're really creating a lot of good things to move in our way.

On the forest side, same thing wins from truck from paper wins from truck on the lumber side. We'll see how that plays out. That should really be a positive area for us. But then the wildfire here on the premium side. You look at auto I tell you our forecast is if any wrong here a couple of quarters. I think that I believe that we're certainly in the trough, I don't see it really improvement in the quarter. We'll see what happens in the next year or maybe some gradual improvement and then on the international intermodal side, Eric and his team have done a great job of really reacting and engage in the terminals at the port and the port. I'm really proud of the fact that we've got a product that we've created in Inland Empire to actually capture some of that business that might spill over. You know about the product that we've created up in the 2030s and we've got our grain facility coming on that G4 to make it just more attractive for customers to really come in and move on the international side and on the domestic side, I expect the same run rate that we're seeing today and we're expecting a tougher comp on our e-commerce businesses, we'll have more of a normal Christmas sale.

Eric Gehringer -- Executive Vice President of Operations

Yeah. Ken, regarding the ports themselves and thinking about our system fluidity first it's important that we applaud the same effort that you did with the effort on both of the ports to move to a 24 by 7 operation. As you think about our fluidity and how we support the middle part and the entire supply chain and really thinking about four specific things. The first one is car dwell. So we're back in our 23 to 25-hour historical average, which is 24% better than our peak in July. So we have cars there are available.

From a velocity perspective how fluid are we from getting point A to point B were at 488 miles per day yesterday, which is the best we've been in 9 months. So we have the fluidity to move from A to B. Where you still see the constraints is in our box dwell, we see currently a 40% increase in that dwell versus earlier this year. And then also on the chassis Street time which is just a measure of how long is the chassis, from the time at least to the time it comes back to us and that's up 20%. So what's critically important as we've identified before we can take the volume, we can handle the volume efficiently we need the back end of the supply chain -- chain with warehouse capacity, warehouse labor, dray capacity and dray labor to be there to answer that call. We're not doing that in putting that entirely on the back end though. We've take actions even in the last 6 months.

You've heard me talked before about we've opened G3, we've gone deeper. We've got 5,000 cars now strategically placed we've extended hours and selected ramps. Most notably, our recent extension to 24 hours and in ICTFs in LA. We've also expanded hours for road ability which is a matter of expanding hours for the inspection and maintenance of chassis. We're being partners with our customers to ensure that anything they can do to continue to improve supply chain fluidity more supportive right.

Unidentified Participant

Thanks. Kenny and Eric. Appreciate it.

Operator

Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Walter Spracklin with RBC. Please proceed with your question.

Walter Spracklin

Thanks very much. I guess this question is for Lance and it's a little bit conceptual and it's regarding the supply chain and supply chain issues and whether they are structural or temporary effectively if this is temporary and we work through the next quarter or 2. We don't need to worry about anything but it seems a little bit more structural you add in the while wildfires can be kind of one-offs, they do they do recur and can aggravate the supply chain situation. My question is, if they are structural, Lance, do you look at anything that you can do that outside of what you're doing for your company and the things that you can control? There are a lot of aspects with the supply train you can't and you're starting to see your competitors dip into other aspects of non-rail operations. Is this something that, given, if indeed it is structural and you want to have more handle and ability to bring other operations in line with your rail operation? Could you start looking at acquisitions that are outside of your core rail assets?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

That's a great question, Walter. Let's start with structural or temporary I'm still of the belief that most of what we see is temporary, but that doesn't mean the fundamental basis for your question isn't still appropriate. Right. So if we just focus in on the international intermodal supply chain, let's use that as a marker. From a temporary perspective clearly COVID and the impacts on labor from many different directions, related to the COVID pandemic and reaction to the pandemic over the last 18 months has impacted the labor ability to fill jobs, either on the back-end warehouse dray, over in the origin shutting down factories, ports and I don't think that lasts forever. Right. That certainly strikes me is something that we, the US and the world are going to get our arms around either through mass vaccination, therapeutics combination of both.

So I think ultimately the way the supply chain is disrupted right now doesn't last. That doesn't mean that we shouldn't continue to keep our eyes open on opportunities to -- to basically be better for customers. Step one in that has a lot to do with transparency and visibility in the existing supply chain across partners. We're working very hard in that space with each of the supply chain partners that we have whether its technology platform that we can all used to see everybody's KPIs and current status or something more.

And to your point, from an inorganic growth opportunity perspective, there are probably opportunities in there and we have talked about that being a juice and augment to our fundamental growth of the railroad and bringing more cars on to the railroad. So I think there are opportunities there, Walter. And we've got our eyes wide open and are looking for them as, as we continue to work on the overall supply chain.

Walter Spracklin

Really helpful perspective. Thanks, Lance.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yep. Thank you.

Operator

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

Justin Long -- Stephens

Thanks and good morning. I guess, building on that last question with the CP-KCS merger moving forward. I wanted to get your updated thoughts on how this could impact your business. Could you talk about the risks that this deal could pose to either your business or Ferromex business given your ownership stake there and how you could potentially mitigate some of those risks?

Unidentified Speaker

Yeah, great question. Justin, thank you. So we've been crystal clear all along that there are a number of concerns we have in terms of maintaining and enhancing competition with this proposed merger. The primary one is making sure that our customers continue to have good commercial access with businesses in Mexico. Today, we appreciate and enjoy about 2/3 or more of all the cross-border rail traffic to and from Mexico. The reason that is we have the best franchise to both act as an origination for business in Mexico and act as a marketplace for businesses in Mexico. We just want to make sure that in the combination of the CP and the KCS our customers aren't locked out from that access. So we are active in the process right now to make sure that that concern is known and that it gets addressed in some kind of remedy. I think there are bona fide risks to our business to and from Mexico to the, maybe the FX business. But I think we've got a pretty good beat on them. We understand them and we're actively already working to address that.

Justin Long -- Stephens

Okay, thanks. I appreciate the time.

Unidentified Speaker

Yeah. Thank you, Justin.

Operator

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

Amit Malhotra -- Deutsche Bank

Thanks, good morning. I wanted to get your perspective on what inning you think we're in with respect to the pricing opportunity. I think that's an appropriate question given we are in Baseball playoff season but I really ask that question, because we saw a nice sequential uplift in intermodal and coal yields. But everything else I would say was a bit muted. I know there is mix within mix that can impact that, but maybe just as a summary just talk about what inning you think we're in where you think the biggest opportunities are to see yield improvement from where we are today? And then just intermodal and coal just took a big step up, is that sustainable in 4Q and as you look into 2022? Thank you.

Unidentified Speaker

Kenny, you want to take that.

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Yeah, thanks, Amit, for that question. First, I'll start off by saying that I feel much better about where we are today in terms of our ability to price the product then even earlier in this year, we're looking at the 4th quarter, we're going to start bid season here, what a small amount of bids out there, call it 10% to 15% on a lot of our intermodal business clearly on a lot of our carload business, we're stepping into that. It's a strong environment for us it's a favorable environment for us. We're going to price for the marketplace. We're seeing the tight truck capacity, not just on the intermodal side. We also see it on the carload side. So we'll have a lot more clarity on it, but I'll tell you right now as I sit here today, it's a favorable environment for us to be pricing in.

Unidentified Speaker

So Kenny, you're not going to bite on the inning question in terms of [multiple speakers]

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Well, Macau is spoke off. First of all, but the bottom line is that, hey look, this is better than not seen it in a while. I haven't seen it this strong since the last part of '18. We feel good about the products that we have out there. I've talked about all the new products with Inland Empire in 20 cities and the network that we have and what Eric is doing to improve the service that you're seeing. So if a favorable environment for us, and we feel good about our ability to price into it.

Amit Malhotra -- Deutsche Bank

Okay, fair enough. Thank you very much. Appreciate the time.

Unidentified Speaker

And thank you, Amit.

Operator

Our next question is from the line of Chris Wetherbee with Citigroup. Please proceed with your question.

Chris Wetherbee -- Citigroup

Yeah, thanks, good morning guys. If you're going to have the pricing question would be a little bit differently or come at it from a bit of a different perspective. You just mentioned sort of not that this is probably as good as you've seen since sort of the tail end of 2018. I guess that was really kind of what I was interested if you could put into perspective what we're seeing now from a pricing opportunity to maybe what we saw in 2018 or maybe going back to 2014 when we had the sort of big uplift in the pricing dynamic, particularly coming off the back of a very strong truckload market. So do you think that what we're seeing now is sort of commensurate to what we saw back in those other periods? Could this potentially be a little bit better just given what we're seeing from a supply chain perspective? Any perspective on that relative to history might be really helpful for us.

Unidentified Speaker

Yeah. Totally different reasons I mean 2018 was the supply chain challenges hold up as they are today. There is still many things that that come into play when you look at what's on the water, what's at the port Street well, and some of the chassis turn. This is a little bit different in terms of pricing opportunity I'd say it is still there. I feel again pretty strong about the opportunities that we have. We get the test the waters here. Like I mentioned, in the 4th quarter we've got some large pieces of business that are coming off. So we'll see how it plays out, but we're pretty optimistic about what's in front of us.

Chris Wetherbee -- Citigroup

Okay, that's helpful. Appreciate the time guys. Thank you.

Unidentified Speaker

Yeah. Thank you, Chris.

Operator

The next question is from the line of Jason Seidl with Cowen. Please proceed with your question.

Jason Seidl -- Cowen

Thank you, operator and good morning everyone. I wanted to focus a little bit more on the supply chain disruptions. As you seem to be one of the main carriers impacted given your exposure to LA Long Beach. Could you tell us, I guess what you think of the most recent plan by the administration to sort of get through this backlog? I think there is something like $22 billion with the freight, not the shores? And then also, once we do get through that, do you think there could be a low of freight for a short period of time? Thank you.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Those are great questions, Jason. So the way we think about recovery of current supply chain from my perspective, it really fundamentally boils down to putting people in jobs in order to increase the capacity for handling throughput and that's both dray drivers, whether you're in the LA Basin or out in the destination markets and certainly in warehousing and distribution center labor. There might be an opportunity with port labor in terms of being able to maximize throughput through the port and I know they're talking about that. And so I believe the Biden administration as identified basically increasing the throughput capability and the capacity capability and understands the need to to help put labor that's available into those jobs and make more labor available for the jobs.

Now in terms of once the current supply chain is fixed there some really good looking markers that tell us the economies in a pretty strong place and maybe I'll stay there for a while. There is a lot of cash on deposit accounts that people are sitting on, and that is -- that is dry powder yet to be deployed in spending. As long as consumers continue to spend on things that's really good for the goods economy, which of course is the part of the economy that we participated. And there is also generally -- consumers are generally optimistic that they're fragile because of the impacts that the COVID pandemic have had on all of us, but they're generally pretty optimistic and we just need to see I think the COVID pandemic get under control and get continued signs of normalcy. And I think. Consumers will spend that money and the low inventory to sales ratio is going to drive a need for continued stocking. So I feel pretty good about it. Certainly as we head into 2022, it looks like a strong environment.

Jason Seidl -- Cowen

Lance, I appreciate the color and the believe me my kids are trying to support the economy the best they can and spending.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Keep it up.

Jason Seidl -- Cowen

Yeah, what of the wanted to just follow up, you talked about sort of labor shortages between warehouses and ports. I mean if you had to rank them what order would you put them in terms of, well, but what's the biggest problem?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah Jason by far, if we could snap our fingers on the back end, we would love to see more dray and warehouse distribution capacity. That's the first thing that we would love to see I think that would fundamentally change Street time for chassis and boxes.

Jason Seidl -- Cowen

Fantastic. Appreciate the time. As always.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question is from the line of Cherilyn Radbourne with TD Securities. Please proceed with your question.

Cherilyn Radbourne -- TD Securities

Thanks very much and good morning, Kenny. I think this is for you, at the beginning you mentioned moving customers to index-based contracts. And I was just hoping you could elaborate a little bit more on how that creates a win-win for Union Pacific and customers.

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Yeah, it really just keep them in the market and keep them competitive, especially when you have natural gas prices as high as they are, it put them in the money and we have a really strong service product to support it. We feel good about where that is in the 4th quarter probably feel good about where it is in the first quarter and we need to reassess it on a quarterly basis.

Cherilyn Radbourne -- TD Securities

Maybe just as a quick follow-up, does that imply that revenue per unit will follow like global benchmark prices in some way? Is that how we should think about it?

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

I think that's a bit better to think that way.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Cherilyn, to a degree, right because there is only a portion of the book of business that's priced that way but that portion is definitely going to follow that.

Cherilyn Radbourne -- TD Securities

Fair enough. Thank you.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

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

Brandon Oglenski -- Barclays

Hey, good morning everyone and thank you for taking my question. Kenny, you spoke about some business development efforts in your prepared remarks, I think on the ag side industrial maybe Mexico energy. Can you speak more to that. And I mean I know you have a pandemic comp this year, but as you look to 2022 and beyond, are these the types of things are giving you confidence in that 3 plus percent volume outlook long-term yeah.

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Yeah, absolutely, I mean we -- we teamed up at Investor Day, how we thought about the biofuel market. One of the things that I'm proud of that bulk team for it that they develop that market. I mean, you look at the Midwest and some of the central state. We've got a unique opportunity where we originate that business and then we have another unique opportunity in some cases where we might be able to move some of that product to the end markets that work going out from a business development standpoint and just develop in that business. As you look at our industrial side, same thing, too, you look at Mexico, energy reform team has just done a fabulous job of walking down that portfolio and growing our business. We have clear line of sight. So the players that can get in those markets and we're helping them grow. On the premium side what we've got, we've got nicely up coming in January 1 and we're fired up about it. There are some other areas again that we have just gone out and created those market and so we're excited about it. We do feel -- I'm bullish. We feel very strong going into next year.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Brandon. I want to brag on on not just Kenny in the commercial team, but the cooperation between Kenny and the operating team and all the other internal support mechanisms that make that business development effort happen. They're going after business in so many different ways, whether its campaigns to fill out shorter trains on the network or to attack a particular marketplace that looks like it's growing and we want to be a bigger part of it, or were there is customers that have a real problem with their cost structure and we know bringing some of that business onto the rail will enhance their ability to compete in their marketplace. All of the above, is generating business development. It's happening mostly in singles and doubles. But I'll take lots of singles and doubles and a team that's -- that's oriented toward making that happen.

Jennifer Hamann -- Chief Financial Officer

[inaudible] show up in the industrial space this quarter. I mean talking about being able to really capitalize and jump in where we saw some hot markets, Kenny and the team did it and then Eric and team move right.

Brandon Oglenski -- Barclays

Guys, thank you.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question is from the line of Brian Ossenbeck with JP Morgan. Please proceed with your question.

Brian Ossenbeck -- JP Morgan

Hey, good morning. Thanks for taking the question. I just wanted to ask Eric about the operation side and maybe about steps getting productivity and service consistent team back on track and what still it sounds like it's going to be a pretty volatile volume in potentially operating environment. So, train links for down for the first time that we can really find on record, but they were improving in September. So if you can touch on that in terms of how you can maintain that momentum even if volumes are flat. And then just if you can also touch on what else is in your control the sea rate and fuel obviously moving in the right direction. Was there anything else specifically on the initiative side, you're looking at on labor as well. Thank you.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Sure. It's a great question, Brian. So let's start in the beginning, there. So to your point, coming out of the recovery. The actual events to start the recovery. Yes, the service performance our velocity and then looking at them now strong moves in the right direction. As you probably said we're not to where we need to be, as I look at that over the 4th quarter our biggest opportunities are down in our Southern and specifically the southeast region of our system. The team is absolutely focused on ensuring that we can continue to get those terminals operating that historical dwell level or better and that's the focus right now. As we increase velocity, you see a direct correlation to our improvement in service and I expect that out of the team.

Now as far as a broader productivity, I mean you hit on the fuel efficiency. And I really want to take a minute to really recognize the team on that and stress because a 3rd quarter best ever record in a 1% improvement against a quarter that was dramatically challenging and a lot of different ways, specifically in how many trains we had to reroute, that's a massive accomplishment. But as you look at fuel efficiency, much like the rest of our pipeline, there strong initiatives in each one of those. So I think about we still have the opportunity to modernize another 100 locomotives next year as part of our plan. That's on top of the 100 modernizing this year and those modernizations will get locomotive that can be operating as DPU -- DPU units which provide fuel conservation as we can run more of those. As we think about MF. I told you earlier in the year, we're going to install 800 units, we're installing 800 units this year, and we'll continue with that investment next year.

So I can continue to go on them on the point is the pipelines are full, it has been a challenging quarter, there is nothing that stands in front of us to get back on track in Q4. Well, Brian didn't ask it specifically. But I mean, you've got a path toward 10,000ft average train link with our September performance of the 9,500, we are absolutely on that pad and with the construction of our signings that I mentioned 9 been already completed, 26 in the pipeline. We absolutely have that path.

Jennifer Hamann -- Chief Financial Officer

And that's impacted by this model supply chain issues payment as a big issue. That in line with right.

Brian Ossenbeck -- JP Morgan

Great. Just a follow-up. Real quick, I was going to ask on that if the train link impacts in the quarter really was from the bridge or would you see more volatility on that if the animal supply chain doesn't recover as expected at least stabilize here a bit.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. So let's start with the bridge. So if you think about when the bridge went out really did was severed an artery where we were able to run trains longer than 8300ft. When we had to reroute the trains from Northern California over to Salt Lake and back up to Portland were restricted to that 8300ft for a number of different reasons. So the -- the fall off in train length prior to September was absolutely related to the bridge outage. Now to your point, as we see intermodal volumes grow, that's always a huge lever for us to grow train length especially across our Sunset corridor up to Chicago.

Brian Ossenbeck -- JP Morgan

All right, great, thank you for all the color, I appreciate it.

Operator

Next question is from the line of John Chappell with Evercore ISI. Please proceed with your question.

John Chappell -- Evercore ISI

Thank you. Good morning, Eric, sticking with you, maybe a bit of a quantitative follow up to the last question and answers the $150 million in reduced productivity expectations for this year is completely understandable given everything you've just laid out, whether it's macro or the bridge and the wildfires. Is that lost productivity though from the network as you think about a multi-year plan? Or can you make that up at some point next year incrementally to what you were already budgeting for 20 to productivity gains?

Eric Gehringer -- Executive Vice President of Operations

Yeah, John, that's an exceptionally good question and I want to be very clear that is not lost and it's expected that we make that up in next year.

John Chappell -- Evercore ISI

Okay. Grain it going to be within the 6-month period or is it kind of spread over the first year?

Eric Gehringer -- Executive Vice President of Operations

Now we're getting into those innings questions again. John rest assured the entire team understands we have to get that back, as you would imagine as we think through the 2022 and what is going to present those plans are still under works, but it's all with an eye toward capturing back that $150 million.

John Chappell -- Evercore ISI

Okay. Great. Thanks, Eric.

Eric Gehringer -- Executive Vice President of Operations

Yeah. Thank you, John.

Operator

Our next question is from the line of Tom of its with UBS. Please proceed with your question.

Unidentified Participant

Yeah, good morning. I know you've had quite a few questions on capacity. But I guess, wanted to kind of get your thoughts on 2022 and how capacity in volume, how we might think of that. I think is positive thesis out there on rail that says we've seen temporary weakness in volume, but you look at 2022 and there is a pretty good chance volume improves and I think that is probably linked to capacity coming online. Lance do you think that's a reasonable view to have that UNP volume growth can accelerate nicely in 2022? And do you think you have good visibility to that capacity supporting that growth?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, Tom, thanks for the question. So absolutely it's a reasonable thesis to say we're going to grow in 2022. Our commitments that we made at the Investor Day is over the 3-year period, we're going to grow better than industrial production and we believe that we're going to be able to do that. There is a couple of things that I'll point to, we've got Knight Swift coming on board that will be a growth engine. We've got the headwinds in the automotive industry and the overall supply chain mostly impacting the intermodal business. In my viewpoint it's very unlikely that carries all the way through next year that -- that there is capacity coming on for semiconductor manufacturing, the supply chain is going to have enough capacity to handle the throughput necessary and so I think those get remedy then that's a growth engine and then Kenny's team as we just outlined in bulk industrial and in the premium side on business development keep adding opportunity into the bucket.

So it's absolutely a decent thesis to say we're growing and we're growing better than industrial production next year. Now the other side of that is capacity, we've got plenty of capacity. Our our fixed capacity, our railroad can definitely handle the growth as we go into next year. And we're poised to add the fungible resources, the employees necessary to handle it, not on a one-for-one basis, because we are generating productivity but I see no issue with the thesis, you just laid out.

Unidentified Participant

Can you talk a little bit about the specific resources you're adding, are you adding more more people intermodal terminals, are you adding more chassis? Are you -- are there areas you need to add more cars 2 support that in 2002.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

There are always rifle shots from a capital spending perspective, Tom that we have to take care of Eric identified some in terms of siding extensions. We've got some capacity spending that's going on in our new intermodal ramps whether it's the Inland Empire up in the twin cities, but I consider those rifle shots, those are -- those are very specific little pieces of the network that that will have a very positive generating ROI to them. In terms of manpower resources employees, we've got needs here and there. And again, those tend to be pockets and they're driven by growth or they're driven by normal attrition and we're right now in the process of hiring in a few areas around the network. We've got a training pipeline that's both representative of people we've hired and people we've call back from furlough but I don't consider those numbers anything kind of worth commenting other than normal course of business.

Unidentified Participant

Okay, great, thank you for the time.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thanks, Tom.

Operator

Our next question is from the line of David Vernon with Bernstein. Please proceed with your thanks.

David Vernon -- Bernstein

Thanks, operator and good morning, guys. So, Lance, getting I going to -- want to present the bear case in some of the arguments you putting out there. Right. I mean, we're in the tightest truck market. We've been in sort of ever. Right. This is a non-conference game for Alabama as opposed to it sounds football playoff game if you will. Now and resulting in a motor volume down 6%. So when I get asked that question, like how would you respond to the fact that in this really super tight market where demand for intermodal should be off the charts, you're not growing. So what's going to change between now in the next few years that will help you grow.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Absolutely, David, you just outlined the connection. Our volume in intermodal is down because of tight dray market. We don't have enough dray capacity to support the overall supply chain on the intermodal product. That is going to be remedied right. If supply and demand in our market economy gets remedied truck driver wages are going up, dray wages are going up, it's all looking good. So I feel very good about overcoming the bear case that you just outlined, because they're intimately connected first of all, the majority of that out there [multiple speakers].

Unidentified Speaker

I took a shot. I took a shot.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, first of all, yeah, we've got a investment here that's coming on in the first half of the year of chassis. We feel good about that. We've got ample container, we're going to improve our competitiveness here in the first half of the year. We've got GPS that we're investing in. I can't -- I can't say enough about how much capacity opportunities are there in the Inland Empire and we're working very closely with Eric's team on that and we still have room to grow in the 2030. So yeah, there are some macroeconomic and supply chain challenges out there, but what you're hear me say and what you're here in Atlanta is that boy as a team, we're really going after it and being very deliberate and specific about how to grow the business.

David Vernon -- Bernstein

And just as a quick follow-up, is it right to think that the on boarding of that night business will be easier because it's coming with the drayage, and the chassis and the stuff that night going to bring along with it.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

We don't see any issues bringing on that business. Yeah, we are, we are committed were well planned. There is a detailed executing plan already in place and we're really looking forward to having them on as a partner there. They're running an outstanding business, there'll be a great partner to have.

David Vernon -- Bernstein

Thanks a lot for the time guys.

Operator

The next question is from the line of Ravi Shanker with Morgan Stanley. Please proceed with your question.

Ravi Shanker -- Morgan Stanley

All right. Thanks everyone. If I can just discuss to the team -- team Kenny, you highlighted in European remarks some of the challenges forecasting the auto business in the last few months. At the risk of asking you to judge somebody else's crystal ball, we have heard from some of the industry kind of data providers that their outlook for auto production recovery through 2022 is really slow. So is there a risk that a auto production is definitely going to ramp next year. But the ramp is not nearly as much as people think. And B, when the production does ramp. Is there a risk that some of the finished products get put on truck to try and expedite their path to dealers or are you quite turned about maintaining share in the [inaudible].

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

That's a interesting question. It -- it really depends on what you believe and what you've heard us say is that we believe the run rates will continue in the -- until the 4th quarter and then it will be up low gradual ramp up into the first half by late spring-summer. If we can get to, whereas a forecast is are is, that be an excellent position for us. We expect to really have a strong product that is competitive with truck. So we don't see what we would lose any of that business and we also would anticipate that some of the auto parts business will show up a little bit before the finished vehicle product.

Ravi Shanker -- Morgan Stanley

Got it. That's helpful. Thank you.

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Thank you. Ravi.

Operator

Our next question is from the line of Jeff Kauffman with Vertical Research. Please proceed with your question.

Jeff Kauffman -- Vertical Research.

Thank you very much and congratulations in a tough quarter. Kenny I'm going to stick with the football analogies here, when I go out and I talk to shippers they all tell me, we'd love to use a lot more intermodal then we're able to right now. In fact, if we had our druthers, we put another 5% or 6% of our spend in intermodal. How many points or we leave it on the board due to these turnovers, so to speak from the environment and if you were able to get that dray capacity and run the network, the way you'd like to, what do you think intermodal would look like now?

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Yeah. That's also an interesting question. What I'll tell you what we're doing is going out and in 3rd solutions where we can. So, Eric, and his team has done a really good job of keeping in contact with the terminal from a technology side. We've been sort of APIs that support from a investment perspective we're going out and really own in our own destiny in terms of expansion. We're creating solutions for our customers. Clearly, Eric, talked about what we've done in our G3 facility. We also opened up temporarily another facility down in the Houston area. Our loops of fit or area of going out and working with BCO expedite drayage, the workflow and everything we can in our control to not just accept what the supply chain challenges out there. We're trying to own it. And so, and you've heard about the investments that we're making on the chassis and GPS side. So what you're hearing from me is, we're doing everything we can to control our destiny to to maximize partner.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Kenny, and another way to answer Jeff's question, Jeff. If you recall, when we came into the year, gave guidance that said 4% to 6% growth and coming out of the second quarter the lay of the land look pretty strong and we up that to 7% and now because in part of the intermodal supply chain disruption, along with the continued issues on semiconductors for automotive we've drop that back to 5%. So right there you see 2 percentage points of growth on the whole business that is connected to supply chains being screwed up.

Jeff Kauffman -- Vertical Research.

Could I go a little further out on that [inaudible]. I guess what I'm what I'm reaching for it here is I understand the current environment. But you're doing about let's call it $4.5 billion in intermodal revenue. If we got a truck industry that's capacity constrained, we got price going through the routes. We got a lot of people that want to use intermodal but just can't right now for a variety reasons or not as much as they want to right now. If these factors were to mitigate over the next 2 to 3 years, what do you think that intermodal business could look like? I mean do your customers say jeez, we'd love to give you another 5% of our our transportation budget on intermodal if the network to handle it. I mean what kind of conversations you having with folks kind of beyond the short-term fix?

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Hey, Jeff, this is Lance. Your thesis is spot on. Our customers tell us that they love to use more intermodal product and that's a great place to be, We're not going to try to guess exactly what that looks like. We will build next year's budget. We've got a long-range plan will continue to tweak and build on. But given your thesis is spot on, there is tons of opportunity out there.

Jeff Kauffman -- Vertical Research.

Okay, thank you very much and congratulations.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Thank you.

Unidentified Participant

Our final question is from the line of Jordan Alger with Goldman Sachs. Please proceed with your question.

Unidentified Participant

Yeah. Hi, just a quick question on coal, I know the domestic opportunity should be good for UP with gas prices, but I think Kenny, you mentioned export to I didn't think that was big or important part of your franchise. I'm just sort of curious, how much of an opportunity export can be? Thanks.

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Every carload matters and we've been able to grow our export business. But to your point, it's a smaller part of our overall portfolio.

Unidentified Participant

But there is opportunity set there -- in this environment?

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Absolutely, we've seen a handful of the wins that we're really excited about yeah. In putting a little bit on that, Jordan, you know the Eastern Railroad and export business is substantial and big and and our export business doesn't really look anything like that.

Unidentified Participant

Got it. Thank you.

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Okay, thank you.

Operator

Thank you. There are no further questions at this time. I would like to turn the floor back over to Mr. Lance Fritz for closing comments.

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, thank you, Rob, and thank you all for being engaged with us this morning and your questions. We really appreciate getting into those discussions. We look forward to talking with you again in January when we discuss our 4th quarter and full year results and until then I wish you all very good health. Thank you. Take care.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 71 minutes

Call participants:

Lance Fritz -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

Kenny Rocker -- Executive Vice President of Marketing and Sales

Eric Gehringer -- Executive Vice President of Operations

Jennifer Hamann -- Chief Financial Officer

Unidentified Speaker

Scott Group -- Wolfe Research

Unidentified Participant

Walter Spracklin

Justin Long -- Stephens

Amit Malhotra -- Deutsche Bank

Chris Wetherbee -- Citigroup

Jason Seidl -- Cowen

Cherilyn Radbourne -- TD Securities

Brandon Oglenski -- Barclays

Brian Ossenbeck -- JP Morgan

John Chappell -- Evercore ISI

David Vernon -- Bernstein

Ravi Shanker -- Morgan Stanley

Jeff Kauffman -- Vertical Research.

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