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By Pat Foran, editor
The wet blanket that is global economic uncertainty continues to prompt even the boldest of prognosticators to mothball their crystal balls. Rail-industry finance folks, too, aren’t comfortable looking all that far ahead these days. Like many of us, they tend to default to RhetoricalSpeak when asked to characterize the key issues they’re likely to face in 2009. Among the questions they raised during the information gathering for our ninth annual Finance & Leasing Guide:
“If I knew the answer to that ...” said one equipment finance official, trailing off and, in so doing, summing up the sentiment of many in this elliptical phase we’re in. “Right now, for a lot of us, it’s ‘Put your head down and hope you don’t make a dent.’”
Regardless of where their heads are at, they’re also rolling up their sleeves and looking for meaningful ways to get to work. This, they’ve always known: This business is cyclical, at times wildly so, but isn’t down for the count. And they’re not just along for the ride.
“We won’t be asking, ‘Are we there yet?’ for awhile,” a finance exec said. “But we will.”
And the question won’t be the least bit rhetorical. Until then, though, it’ll be rough sledding, heavy slogging (or choose your own metaphor).