Ask The Experts: July 17, 2019

Tony Hatch
Independent Transportation Analyst and Consultant

Q: How do things look for rail carload volumes for the rest of 2019?
A:
Better….the trade/political disruptions haven’t gone away, but the weather has, and the improved operations at the major carriers have allowed for rather quick recovery. In fact, the “average” Class One was behind plan for the first quarter, but reiterated solid guidance for the full year, indicating an improved outlook for the last eight months.

Q: What do you see happening in rail five years from now?
A:
Five years from now is always hard to predict but something the rails have to look to given the nature of their capex requirements and the long life of their investments (30-year locos, etc). And although technology is both an opportunity and a threat (again, a subject for another day), I see healthy rail spending on IT. In addition, the PSR disruptions will be behind them (they better be!) and a newly energized short line industry will be even larger partners in adding carload business….

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Alison Babcock