A COVID-induced supply chain spiral led to a logistical conundrum that forced shippers and executive teams to adapt to an ever-changing global environment. As the dust begins to settle, we, at Cowen Research, are taking a closer look at the more long-lasting changes across the supply chain and consumers. A multi-sector angle provides insight into the long-term impact for supply chains and beneficiaries of these shifts.
Author: Jason Seidl, TD Cowen
U.S. diesel pricing remains elevated, passing along significant costs to shippers via fuel surcharges. At Cowen and Company, we believe sustained high diesel pricing will ultimately benefit the railroads and IMCs (intermodal marketing companies) as shippers explore different modes of transport.
Rail demand continues to be strong as operators lean further into pricing. Leaders from across the railroad and logistics industries provided market insight at Cowen and Company’s recent “Suds With Seidl” event.
Cowen & Company hosted the Kansas City Southern (KCS) executive team in New York City last week for investor meetings. While challenges across
Mexico continue to hinder railroad operations, discussions with regulatory authorities appear to be moving in the right direction.
At Cowen and Company, we are adjusting our rail models in advance of second-quarter earnings reports due later this month from the Class I railroads. The models reflect carloads in the quarter, mix, fuel, FX (foreign exchange) and cost implications as the supply chain remains tight.
Following the closing of the public comment period for the CN voting trust, which ended June 28, we are re-calibrating our expectations and now believe there to be a ~60% chance the Surface Transportation Board approves it. Our viewpoints swayed slightly in favor of CN following a closer look at the public comments over the past 20 days.
Trends across the rail industry appear positive, although ongoing congestion is an issue for inland ramps, according to leaders at our recent “Suds with Seidl” event.
On May 19, we hosted a call with a noted transportation attorney to discuss the latest news surrounding the proposed merger involving KSU/CP/CNI. The STB decision on May 17 indicates more caution surrounding voting trusts; CNI must show that the trust keeps a level playing field. The key for CNI will be that public benefits outweigh harms.
At Cowen and Company, we are updating our rail models to reflect carload data and costs associated with severe weather and fuel in the first quarter.
Rail industry leaders were bullish on the quarter-to-date at the latest “Suds with Seidl” event, with one panelist citing a spring surcharge for containers, underlying the strong rate backdrop for carriers.