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Rail News: Maintenance Of Way

RTA: Tie production sizzled, purchases fizzled in December


Crosstie market activity ended 2014 with mixed results. Production in December climbed 12.7 percent from November's level to 1.89 million units, but purchases dropped 12.6 percent to 1.5 million units, according to the Railway Tie Association (RTA).

On a year-over-year basis, production jumped 23.5 percent and purchases fell 16.9 percent. The tie inventory as of Dec. 31, 2014, stood at 15.95 million units versus 15.57 million units at November's end and 15.6 million units at October's end. The inventory-to-sales ratio clocked in at 0.70 for December compared with 0.67 in November and 0.66 in October.

In fourth-quarter 2014, production totaled 5.6 million units compared with 5.5 million units in the third quarter and 5.3 million units in fourth-quarter 2013, RTA data shows. Purchases totaled 5.15 million units compared with 5.76 million units in the third quarter and 6.07 million units in fourth-quarter 2013.

Meanwhile, 12-month rolling data shows purchases — which declined in recent months after an upswing that lasted more than a year — were down 7.3 percent in 2014 to 22.86 million units compared with 2013. After a long decline that began in November 2012, production showed signs of leveling off in the 12-month period, but remained down 3.8 percent for the year at 20.55 million units.