Crosstie production, which had been fairly stable for some time, declined 17 percent in February to 1.7 million units compared with January's total, according to the Railway Tie Association (RTA).
But a 5.9 percent drop in reported inventories to 18.8 million units resulted in a 110 percent leap in "calculated" tie purchases to 2.9 million units, RTA officials said in the association's monthly tie market report.
Through 2013's first two months, both production totaling 3.8 million units and purchases totaling 4.3 million units were on a par with volumes from the same 2012 period.
Meanwhile, 12-month rolling data confirmed that production, at 25.1 million ties, continued to level off since October 2012, RTA officials said. Nonetheless, production maintained an annual growth rate of 8 percent. Purchases, which had peaked in July 2012, totaled about 23 million units, reflecting a lower annual growth rate at 0.3 percent.
Inventories climbed more than 13 percent over the 12-month rolling period and the inventory-to-sales ratio rose from 0.73 to 0.82.
Browse articles on Railway Tie Association on Progressive Railroading