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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

North American tie production continues to lag behind purchases, RTA says

In February, North American crosstie purchases continued to outstrip production, according to the Railway Tie Association's (RTA) monthly market report. Purchases totaling 1.46 million units increased 5 percent while production of 1.27 million units were flat compared with January data.

“Purchases were almost 20 percent ahead of last year and 31 percent higher than the average from the past five years,” RTA officials said in the report. “[But] production was 17 percent behind last year and 1 percent below the average from the past five years.”

In February, suppliers' tie inventory of 14.7 million units dropped 1.3 percent compared with January and more than 2 percent compared with December.

During the past 12 months, tie purchases reached 18.2 million units and production totaled 18.8 million units, a 4.2 percent and 5.2 percent increase, respectively, compared with 12-month data in February 2004. Going forward, RTA anticipates annual growth rates of 4 percent for purchases and 5 percent for production.

Meanwhile, February's inventory-to-sales ratio of 0.81 fell slightly compared with January's 0.82 ratio.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/18/2005