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Plummeting rail-car orders should begin to elevate next year, EPA says

A dismal U.S. economy has led to equally dismal first-half 2001 rail-car orders. But car builders shouldn't fret — improvement is on the way in 2002, says Economic Planning Associates Inc. (EPA) in its quarterly "Outlook for Rail Cars" report released this month.

While first-quarter car orders totaled 8,413 units, second-quarter orders numbered a scant 3,461 units. Based on first-half rail-car deliveries, existing backlogs and moderate demand, EPA predicts 37,600 car deliveries for all of 2001.

However, EPA believes rail-car deliveries will rebound to 41,300 units next year for several reasons: a revived U.S. manufacturing sector will lead to stronger chemical, metal and paper-product moves; healthier construction activity might spur aggregate and building-material moves; steadier consumer demand should prompt more finished-vehicle and automotive-part moves; and coal moves will continue growing.

Long term, EPA predicts 51,500 rail-car deliveries in 2003, growing to 64,500 units by 2006.

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More News from 8/22/2001