Which mode of transportation do you think will be the most negatively affected by the coronavirus? (Answer by Jim Blaze)

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Commutation to/from work and school are hitting both gasoline car consumption and mass transit ridership.


Here are a few examples reported as of March 16th in the U.S. market:

  • Railway tanker use for both ethanol and crude oil by rail will surely tighten as overall domestic fuel market demand and global demand are shrinking. I’d anticipate a higher demand for parking as “temporarily stored” tankers plus a negotiation to reduce car orders and to possibly lengthen out the delivery schedule of tank cars that had previously been ordered but are not yet built.

If true, we should begin to publicly see the AAR’s car storage data in future weeks show a marked increase in tank cars stored.

Unless the shale drillers continue to pump out new oil in order to maintain cash flow, we should also see an increase in frac sand smaller hopper cars that will be requiring a “parking spot”.

Many of these liquid fuel car storage decisions will be made in faraway board rooms as energy corporations look to manage their crisis financials.


  • Ocean container shipping has been hard hit. For more, read the book and occasional new postings by research author Lori Ann LaRocco (see Trade Wars – Containers don’t Lie).

Ironically, ocean liquid bulk shipping sees a positive impact as charter rates are at a high per daily vessel use for using very large tankers as fuel storage tanks.