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Rail News: Mechanical

GATX Rail boosts '06 fleet utilization rate to 99 percent


It wasn’t 100 percent, but it was close. On Dec. 31, GATX Rail’s North American rail-car fleet reached an annual utilization rate of 99 percent, up from 98 percent at 2005’s end. The fleet comprises more than 110,000 cars.

Last year, GATX Rail spent $534 million to upgrade its fleet compared with $403 million in 2005 and $490 million in 2004. The company acquired 6,302 cars, including 3,495 new and 2,807 used cars.

During the fourth quarter, lease renewal pricing on most common car types increased 19 percent over expiring lease rates, which was comparable to the third quarter, GATX Rail said. In addition, quarterly net income totaled $26.9 million, up 50 percent compared with fourth-quarter 2005 income.

“Average lease rates should continue increasing and we will … continue extending average lease terms,” said Brian Kenney, president and chief executive officer of GATX Rail parent GATX Corp., in a prepared statement. “Despite signs of increasing weakness in certain segments of the freight-car market, we expect GATX Rail’s income contribution to increase significantly in 2007.”