The June 13, 2018 report from PFL Petroleum Services, a full-service railcar company covering the North American rail market (sales and leasing, loaded and empty storage, mobile railcar cleaning, blasting, scrapping and mobile repair) says that CBR (crude by rail) traffic is growing in the U.S. and Canada, albeit with some short-term headwinds.
As of May 7, 2018, there were 306,500 railcars in storage, and their numbers should drop below 300,000 before the third quarter, “a level that historically correlates with better railcar orders,” according
Cowen and Company Equity Research Analyst Matt Elkott, who covers the railway supply sector, on May 4 issued a report that looks favorably upon two potential combinations: Trinity and GATX, and Wabtec and GE Transportation.
Following a weak start in commodity movements in the first two months of 2018, demand for freight cars has remained steady, according to the most recent analysis from Economic Planning Associates—and it’s going to improve significantly over the next four years.
Reports by Bloomberg of a potential sale of GE Transportation to Wabtec Corp. surfaced late Friday April 20, resulting in Wabtec shares gaining 4.5%. The potential transaction size is $6.8 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Parallel first-quarter 2018 surveys conducted by Cowen and Company with rail shippers, and with shippers who own or lease railcars, indicate that the market is “generally positive” for railroads and railcar manufacturers.
The merger of Siemens’ mobility business and Alstom reached a milestone on March 23 with the signing of a Business Combination Agreement (BCA) setting out terms and conditions agreed to by the two companies.
Cowen and Company analysts Matt Elkott and Matthew Frankel are projecting a 20% sequential jump in freight car orders in the first quarter to 10,200 units (up 20% from the fourth quarter’s 8,500 units), since “buyers may preempt an acceleration in the steel price rally.”
President Trump has accepted the recommendations from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that steel and aluminum tariffs be implemented to prevent the dumping of foreign products at a discount. These cheaply sold products undercut the pricing of domestic (and other legitimately imported) steel and aluminum products.
Railroad intermodal growth rates appear to have plateaued, and the ELD (Electronic Logging Device) mandate has changed some dynamics in the motor carrier market. Does this mean most low-hanging fruit has already been converted to rail, or can the railroads take advantage of the ELD disruption and capture additional market share?