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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

RTA monthly report: Tie production stable, purchases slide in September


In September, crosstie purchases plummeted below a typical seasonal dip, according to the Railway Tie Association’s (RTA) monthly market report. Totaling 1.3 million units, purchases plummeted 32 percent from August’s level and 5 percent from September 2008’s count.

Tie production was more stable, declining only 3.7 percent on a month-over-month basis, RTA said. Production totaled 1.65 million units vs. 1.72 million units in August and 1.74 million units in September 2008. Tie inventories rose 2 percent from August’s level to 18 million units — the largest gain in nine months.

In the third quarter, tie purchases (which totaled 5 million units) and production (5.4 million units) fell about 12 percent each compared with second-quarter levels. Through 2009’s first nine months, production soared 25 percent to 18.2 million units, but purchases dropped 1.5 percent to 16.4 million units compared with totals from the same 2008 period.

Meanwhile, rolling 12-month data shows production stabilized at 24 million ties and purchases “retreated from the 21 million average established for the first eight months of the year,” the RTA said. “Production is growing at a 22 percent rate, while purchases are falling at a 2 percent rate.”

The inventory-to-sales ratio through the 12-month rolling period stood at 0.87, the highest level since 2001, according to the association.

For more information on the crosstie market — including production and demand projections into 2010 — follow this link to read an article (“Tied up at the moment”) that appears in Progressive Railroading’s October issue.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/26/2009