ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Alaska Railroad Corp. made a $21.6 million profit in 2019 on improved freight business, the state-owned company said.

The railroad’s net income represented a 17% increase over its $18 million in 2018, The Alaska Journal of Commerce reported Monday.

The result was the company’s third consecutive year of annual profits.

The $21.6 million net return was generated from $203.9 million in revenue, amounting to 7.5% revenue growth over 2018, an annual report published April 1 said.

The railroad’s operating revenue increased 8% to nearly $177.6 million and led to operating income of $4.7 million last year, compared to $1.5 million in 2018.

The railroad company does not receive state funding to support its general operations, but accepts federal formula grants largely tied to passenger service, like other U.S. passenger railroad companies.


Alaska Railroad’s federal funding came to about $52 million to $57 million annually in recent years, the report said.

Despite 9% annual growth in the volume of freight hauled by Alaska trains in 2019, freight revenue grew by nearly $14 million, or 16%, to $85.3 million, according to a statement by railroad officials.

Freight service accounted for more than 40% of revenuea and passenger service provided nearly 20% of the 2019 revenue stream.

Alaska Railroad also owns about 58 square miles (150 square kilometers) of land across the state. Real estate income was more than $14 million in 2019, which accounted for about 11% of the railroad’s total revenue and was $1 million more than in 2018.

There has not yet been a slowdown in demand for freight transit, but company officials are concerned about the impact of current low oil prices, Alaska Railroad spokesman Tim Sullivan said in an email.