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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Rail-car deliveries will gradually recover, EPA says


The rail-car market is poised for a rebound that will last a number of years, according to Economic Planning Associates Inc.'s (EPA) most recent "Outlook for Rail Cars" quarterly report.

Although car builders delivered only 17,714 cars last year — the industry's lowest output since 1987 — stable car production through 2002 increased the backlog from 8,089 early in the year to 18,402 at the beginning of 2003.

And falling interest rates and car prices, and improving customer markets are spurring rail-car orders from railroads, shippers and leasing companies, which will be under pressure to expand fleets in the United States, Mexico and Canada because of expanding NAFTA activities, EPA said.

However, the potential war in Iraq will slow economic momentum, leading to a more gradual rail-car delivery increase into 2004. EPA predicts 29,200 deliveries in 2003, followed by 38,500 in 2004 and 49,000 in 2005, and a steady rise to 60,800 by 2008.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 3/4/2003