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Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends

March 2008

Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Industry Trends

Workforce reduction

As of mid-December, U.S. Class I railroads employed 164,252 people, a 2 percent decrease compared with 2006’s end, according to Surface Transportation Board data. The transportation workforces registered the largest declines, with the transportation (other than train and engine service) workforce decreasing 5.4 percent to 6,835 and transportation (train and engine) ranks dropping 5.2 percent to 68,056. Executive and administrative staffs also shrunk. The professional and administrative workforce decreased 0.4 percent to 13,784 and executives/officials/staff assistants segment declined 0.3 percent to 10,123. Meanwhile, the maintenance-of-way and structures workforce totaling 34,730 increased 2.2 percent, and maintenance of equipment and stores segment rose 0.6 percent to 30,724.

2007 container volume up, trailers down

Overall intermodal volume of 14.1 million units declined 1.1 percent in 2007 compared with 2006’s total, according to the Intermodal Association of North America’s quarterly “Intermodal Market Trends & Statistics” report. Although domestic containers increased 9.3 percent to 3.6 million units and total domestic equipment rose 0.3 percent to 5.7 million units, trailers dropped 11.8 percent to 2.1 million units and international containers declined 2 percent to 8.3 million units.

M&A deals on the rise

Mergers and acquisitions in the global transportation and logistics industry reached a 20-year high in 2007, with 1,291 deals, topping the previous record set in 2006, according to “Intersections,” PricewaterhouseCoopers’ quarterly report on M&A in the global transportation industry. However, total deal value in 2007 plummeted to $83 billion, only about half of the 20-year high of $164 billion reached in 2006 primarily because of several large deals consummated that year, the report states. Deal value associated with passenger-air targets declined in favor of trucking, passenger-ground and shipping targets.

TSI takes a hike

The Transportation Services Index (TSI) climbed 0.6 percent in 2007 to 110.5. The Freight TSI was 108.8, down 0.1 percent compared with 2006, and the Passenger TSI reached 117.1, up 2.5 percent. The index is a measure of month-to-month changes in the output of services provided by for-hire transportation industries.


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