Industry-wide orders totaled 12,753, down almost 16% from 15,151 in the third quarter of 2012 and also down 14% from 14,850 cars ordered in the second quarter of this year. Deliveries of 12,647 cars were up 2.4% from 12,346 cars a year ago, and also up just 1% from 12,511 cars delivered in the second quarter of 2012.
The third-quarter backlog of 73, 848 cars was up just marginally from the backlog of 73,706 cars at the end of the second quarter, but still up 22.6% from the 60,244 car backlog at the end of 2012, according to ARCI statistics.
"Overall, the industry order number continued to show a downward trend in tank car concentration, which accounted for 5,149 or 40% (down from 6,944 or 47% during 2Q13) of the total orders in the quarter," observed analyst Steve Barger of KeyBanc Capital Markets, Inc. in a note Friday afternoon to clients. "Covered hopper orders, which were the second largest concentration, came in 4,154 or 33% of the total (slightly above 32% last quarter). Together, these two car types accounted for 73% of the total orders in the quarter versus 79% last quarter.
"Specific to tank cars, we note the industry orders of 5,149 are a step down from the record 19,267 during 1Q13 and below the 1Q11-2Q13 average of ~9,500," Barger observed. "For context, we note tank cars account for roughly 20% of the industry-wide fleet of railcars, while non-tank cars account for 80%."
Barger, looking ahead, said, "Based on current production run rates of approximately 30,400 per year (~27,600 last quarter), we estimate the industry has 1.9 years of tank backlog visibility, suggesting the OEMs are quoting delivery times into 2015."