The orders include a recent award for 1,200 intermodal platforms, with other orders including "small cube covered hoppers and tank cars used in the energy sector, automotive-related products, medium and large cube covered hopper cars for the grain and plastic pellet markets, boxcars for paper and forest products markets, and gondola cars for metal and scrap," the company said.
"Current downward trends in railroad train velocity are expected to lead to stronger demand for certain railcar types in the future," Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Greenbrier Cos. added. Since Sept. 1, 2013, the beginning of the company's fiscal year 2014, Greenbrier has received orders for nearly 8,200 railcars in North America and Europe valued at more than $690 million, the company noted.
Chairman and CEO William A. Furman said, "Our business is benefitting from broad-based demand for all of our car types, including increased demand for intermodal platforms as intermodal loadings accelerate and rail velocity slows due to system congestion. An important aspect of the new tank car operating safety standards is the requirement for reduced railway speeds for most trains carrying crude oil. Slower train speed means velocity across the entire network will likely be affected. As velocity on the rails slows, we believe there will be an increase in demand for certain railcar types carried in unit trains, such as grain and intermodal."
Furman added, "As a result of the energy renaissance in the U.S., crude by rail shipments have climbed from 9,500 carloads in 2008 to more than 400,000 carloads in 2013. While 99.97% of these shipments arrive without incident, our common goal should be zero rail incidents. We are pleased that the AAR and DOT have taken steps to make rail transport safer for both our communities and environment with new operating standards.
"We recently announced our new tank car design which includes a thicker hull, high-flow pressure relief valves, head shields, top fittings protection, and thermal protection," the CEO continued. "These characteristics of our 'tank car of the future' align with the recent request for proposal issued by the BNSF Railway Company to build up to 5,000 tank cars with enhanced safety performance requirements. Additionally we are offering retrofit alternatives for the legacy tank car fleet, including the most recently built CPC-1232 tank cars, with features that will reduce the likelihood of tank cars releasing contents in derailments