The US DOT has recently issued a National Freight Strategic Plan which offers the promise of future Federal support for improvement in the rail freight infrastructure. The vision in the plan is “The freight transportation system of the United States will strengthen our economic competitiveness with safe and reliable supply chains that efficiently and seamlessly connect producers, shippers, and consumers in the domestic and foreign market.” The first listed strategic objective is to “Fund targeted investments in freight capacity and national goals.”

The document indicates that approximately 9.3% of total freight tons move by rail, reflecting just over a quarter of the ton-miles, with an average mile per shipment of 554. The document further indicates that rail is the primary mode for shipments moved 750 to 2,000 miles. One interesting point is that intermodal shipments have grown by 52% in the past two decades; reflecting an increasing use of multiple modes; rail and truck being most common.

The plan also calls for investment in infrastructure and technology to support freight movement; hopefully, this will yield benefits for industries using rail in the future.

A slowing in the fabrication of new railcars will only translate to improved value of the existing fleet over time. Let us know what we can do to help you add to your equipment inventory at this time of depressed pricing.

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