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.
Shipping container shortages in Asia, traffic jams at ports, limited availability of dockworkers and truck drivers from Southern California to Singapore, higher shipping prices—all are part of a now-stretched supply chain due to the pandemic, according to a recent New York Times report. What is the impact on rail?
It’s third-quarter 2019 railroad financial results reporting time, and sometimes, insight about rail freight markets comes from strange places. One of those might just be the quarterly report by J.B. Hunt (JBHT). The Hunt logistics company is one of the largest U.S. intermodal rail organizers. It essentially buys contracted intermodal train service from railroad companies like BNSF and Norfolk Southern.
J.B. Hunt Transport’s (JBHT) third-quarter 2019 financials fell below expectations as, among other factors, “intermodal rail service appears to have improved, but not to the railroads’ goals associated with Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR),” according to Cowen and Company analysts Jason H. Seidl (Managing Director and Railway Age Wall Street Contributing Editor), Matt Elkott and Adam Kramer.
Reporting on the Cowen and Company Global Transport Conference in Bosto, Managing Director and Railway Age Wall Street Contributing Editor Jason Seidl and analysts Matt Elkott and Adam Kramer offer these observations taken from the conference’s railcar/locomotive builder and Class I railroad panels, with a large trucker and a logistics/LTL company added for deeper perspective: