A good news sign; Norfolk Southern (NS) reported on January 29th that in 2020 they “assisted 86 businesses in locating new or expanded facilities on its freight rail network. The industries ranged from a medical products supplier and roofing shingle manufacturer to automakers and paper packaging producers.” This is nothing short of amazing to us; that in a pandemic during which overall rail traffic is down, this level of development took place.
Now before we cheer too much, some of this growth may have been attributed to companies relocating business activity from higher-tax states into the NS service areas. NS further says: “Across 18 states, Norfolk Southern customers invested $1.8 billion to open 70 new and 16 expanded rail-served facilities. The industrial development is expected to create more than 2,960 customer jobs and generate over 54,300 carloads of new rail volume annually for Norfolk Southern.” Hats off to NS for building business relationships with customers for 70 new sites, and for having maintained relationships at another 16 locations such that customers expanded their rail infrastructure.
So, what can this mean for the availability of railcars in the future; higher demand is likely, which may adversely impact inventories of new and used railcars.
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