In Railinc’s North American Freight Railcar Review 2013, which provides an industry overview of the North American railcar fleet from January 01, 2012 through December 31, 2012, Railinc reported the size of the freight railcar fleet increased by 1 percent in 2012.
The annual review also showed that the average age of cars in fleets declined for the first time since 2008, going from 20.1 years to 20 years. A majority of the new cars that were added had gross rail loads of 28,000 lbs. The switch to larger cars helps reduce costs and ease logistics challenges.
According to the report, covered hoppers remain the largest sub-fleet. In 2012 the covered hopper sub-fleet increased by 2.8 percent. The number of gondolas increased 0.9 percent in 2012. However, the highest growth of any of the sub-fleets were tank cars, with a 4 percent increase in 2012.
The open hoppers continued to decline in 2012, down 3.2 percent. The box car sub-fleet also continues to decrease in size. The decrease in box cars is partially due to the addition of higher-capacity box cars and network efficiencies that reduce the turnaround time of box cars. Box cars are the smallest sub-fleet, and are also older than other sub-fleets.
For charts and more details on the 2013 North American Freight Railcar Review please visit the Railinc website. Railinc offers a free download of the review that you can by clicking on the link below.