In The News
Due to changes in security implemented by Railinc (see separate article Tracing Cars) the Class I websites have changed their options for tracing cars. NS, for example, no longer offers a Steelroads trace option.
The Wall Street Journal reported in its edition for April 15, 2019, that “Russian aluminum giant United Co. Rusal plans to invest $200 million in a Kentucky rolling mill that would be the largest new aluminum plant built in the U.S. in nearly four decades.”
In the Cowan & Company survey for the 1st quarter of 2019 rail shippers reported an expectation that the average base rates will increase 3.4% over the next 6-12 months.
At the NEARS conference in Baltimore Bob Pickel, Sr. VP Marketing & Sales for National Steel Car Limited, reported that tank cars currently make up 26% of the entire railcar fleet in North America and are 43% of the backlog of new cars being built.
Have the steel tariffs made a difference? Total domestic steel production for 2019 thru April 20th is nearly 2 million tons more than the same period in 2018 or 7 percent higher, and the capability utilization rate is 82% vs. 76% for 2018. Maybe the tariffs aren’t the only reason, but maybe they are one of the reasons. More details available below.