FINANCIAL EDGE, RAILWAY AGE AUGUST 2021 ISSUE: Ah, the summer doldrums. While many were hoping for carefree days and a return to normalcy, sadly, the world continues to fret and struggle with the coronavirus and its Delta variant. However, in the shadows of this looming global crisis, the world of North American rail is all atwitter with political activity and other news-grabbing headlines.
For Chicago-based GATX Corp., net income from continuing operations for the first three months of 2021 came in at $36.5 million, or $1.02 per diluted share—down 22.67% from the prior-year period’s $47.2 million, or $1.33 per diluted share.
Two first-quarter 2021 surveys of rail shippers on pricing and business outlook as well as equipment needs conducted by Cowen and Company analysts Jason Seidl (Managing Director and Railway Age Wall Street Contributing Editor), Matt Elkott and Elliot Alper indicate that, compared with the previous quarter, Class I railroad customers are anticipating somewhat higher rate increases, and a slight decline in new railcar demand.
TrinityRail has introduced Trinsight™ tracking to provide shippers with railcar and cargo location, condition and status information in real time. The company also reported that its Maintenance Services division has acquired Bay Worx Rail, a Texas-based tank car cleaning business.
Chicago-based GATX Corp. has reported fourth-quarter 2020 net income from continuing operations of $17.8 million, or $0.50 per diluted share, compared with fourth-quarter 2019’s $42.1 million, or $1.18 per diluted share. For full-year 2020, net income from continuing operations was $150.2 million, or $4.24 per diluted share, vs. the prior year’s $180.8 million or $4.97 per diluted share.
At Cowen and Company, we are revising our transportation OEM and machinery earnings estimates for fourth-quarter 2020 and 2021, and introducing our 2022 estimates; updating our North American Class 8 production forecast; and fine-tuning our railcar supply demand model. What are we seeing? Gradually improving supply-side dynamics.
Five major rail industry companies—Trinity Industries, Norfolk Southern, GATX, Genesee & Wyoming and Watco Cos.—have entered into a joint venture called RailPulse that is “expected to accelerate rail modal transformation through the advancement of GPS technology and other telematics across the North American railcar fleet.”
Norfolk Southern, Genesee & Wyoming, Watco Companies, GATX Corp. and TrinityRail are developing a telematics platform for railcars to provide real-time car location and condition/health monitoring data. Called “Rail Pulse,” it will help shippers, car owners/lessors and railroads better manage consists, incidents and maintenance. Rollout is expected by year-end 2022.
Chicago-based GATX Corp. reported third-quarter 2020 net income of $48.2 million, or $1.36 per diluted share, compared to net income of $37.2 million, or $1.03 per diluted share, in third-quarter 2019.
“Order expectations by the shipper sub-group of railcar buyers were mixed. While a smaller percentage expects to order railcars, the certainty level about ordering has increased. Among railcar suppliers, we favor Trinity for the flexibility of its manufacturing/leasing model, and Greenbrier for its international diversification and cost cutting. GATX’s lease terms offer it some protection.”