Tuesday, February 02, 2010

New freight car outlook: 16,000 in ’10, 21,000 in ’11

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In its latest quarterly report on the freight car market, Economic Planning Associates said railcar builders will continue to face “strong headwinds” this year, but anticipated gains in both commodity and intermodal traffic could stimulate new equipment demand later this year and lead to a pick-up in orders in 2011.

The year 2009 was unremittingly dismal for builders, said EPA: “Even the relatively low level of 21,682 assemblies last year far outpaced he level of only 8,336 cars that were ordered.”

This year, said EPA, “We expect assemblies of 16,000 units [and] in 2011 we look for deliveries of only 21,000 cars. . . .  We look for new railcar deliveries to advance moderately to 34,800 cars in 2012 and then expand annually to the level of almost 60,000 units in 2015.”

It all depends on traffic, and prospects are brightening, said EPA: “Agricultural exports are slated to rise, the housing markets are improving, light-vehicle sales are expanding, manufacturing activities have revived, and a stronger economy will stimulate greater production of electricity. These activities will prompt the haulings of grain, lumber, motor vehicles and parts, chemicals, plastics, and coal.”