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Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Tie purchases and production way up in March, RTA says


In terms of purchases and production, the crosstie market was “hot” in March, according to the Railway Tie Association (RTA). Tie purchases totaling 1.84 million units increased 20 percent and production totaling 2.13 million units rose 27 percent compared with March 2005. In addition, tie inventories crept up 2 percent to 16.2 million units.

The market was sizzling in the first quarter, too. Production set a quarterly record at 5.54 million units, up 38 percent, and purchases totaled 4.89 million units, up 6 percent compared with first-quarter 2005.

During a 12-month period ending March 31, purchases surpassed 19 million ties — the highest 12-month total since RTA began collecting data in 1987. Production of 20.8 million ties broke a record set in 1999 while the inventory-to-sales ratio increased to 0.85.

“Production continues to grow faster (13 percent) than purchases (5.5 percent),” RTA officials said in the association’s monthly market report. "[And] compared to data from last March, inventories have increased by 12 percent.”