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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

RTA report: Tie purchases climbed, production flattened in April

After bouncing back in March, crosstie purchases maintained their bounce in April. Purchases totaled 2.1 million units, up 6.7 percent compared with March’s level, according to the Railway Tie Association’s (RTA) monthly crosstie market report. April production fell slightly to 1.25 million units.

“Production appears to have settled into the 1.2 million range; that equates to a seasonally adjusted 16 million annual ties,” RTA officials said in the report. “Inventories continue to move toward a better balance, having been trimmed by about 1.8 million ties in the last three months.”

Meanwhile, the inventory-to-sales ratio continued to decline in April, falling from March’s 0.98 to 0.94.

The latest 12-month rolling data shows purchases have “broken out of a year-long slide” and stabilized at 18 million ties, RTA officials said. Production totaling 17.8 million ties was down 22 percent from the year-ago level while inventories were down 1.2 percent, the report states.

In terms of the latest 2010 outlook, the year appears to be a slow one, with production volume at about half of last year’s output, RTA officials said. Purchases are reaching only about 80 percent of 2009 levels, they said.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 6/2/2010