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Watco Names Patterson & Penner SVP’s for WTPS

January 29th, 2015

Watco Companies, LLC, has appointed Will Patterson and Derek Penner as senior vice president marketing and sales for Watco Terminal and Port Services (WTPS).

In his new position, Patterson will lead revenue growth in the terminal network, including 31 facilities that will be acquired from Kinder Morgan as well as the Greensport Industrial Park in Houston, Texas.

“Watco is fortunate to have Will leading the commercial side of the Kinder Morgan acquisitions,” said Stefan Loeb, executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “His vast experience in river, liquids, and bulk terminals and his understanding of the Kinder Morgan network will create tremendous value for our Customers and Watco.”

Patterson joined Watco in 2012 as vice president of growth and development for WTPS, where he oversaw capital projects growth and new business reviews to ensure continuity between proforma’s, capital spending and commercial agreements.

He began his career in 1998 as an analyst at River Consulting, which was eventually acquired by Kinder Morgan Terminals. In his nearly 14 years with the company, Patterson worked on commercial and business development and also served as terminal manager for two Kinder Morgan terminal facilities. Before joining WTPS, Patterson was the manager of business development in Kinder Morgan’s corporate office in Houston.

Patterson attended Louisiana State University where he earned a bachelor’s in General Business Administration and a master’s in Business Administration.

Penner will manage marketing for the Energy By Rail Terminal Network and the existing terminals, including facilities located in Phoenix, St. Louis, Rockford, Pittsburg, and Oklahoma City.

Penner will also be responsible for leading a team that will develop the potential of these terminal’s assets by improving and expanding customer relationships and developing solutions to meet their requirements through the operating department’s services. He and his team will also facilitate a cross-marketing plan to promote new and additional transportation and material handling services across Watco Transportation Services and WTPS.

Penner’s team includes Ryan Krull and Laura Schmidt from Watco’s Midwest Region, Steve Sheldon from the West Region, Mike Yanish from the North Region, and Duane Helms from the East Region.

“Derek has played a tremendous role in the incredible growth and development of Watco’s Terminal & Port Services group,” stated Loeb. “We look forward to his leadership in developing and growing that important terminal network for our customers. “

Penner is the former director of market development for WTPS. He joined Watco in 2010 as business development manager. He is responsible for many contributions to the WTPS crude by rail initiatives in his four years with the company.

Penner earned a bachelor’s degree in Supply Chain Management and Finance from Missouri State University.

Alstom Awarded Contracts for India’s Kochi Metro

January 29th, 2015

Alstom has won two contracts worth approximately €65 million from the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC). The contracts call for signaling and telecom solutions, worth €34 million, and the electrification solution, worth €33 million, to be installed on the future Kochi metro line.

Alstom will be responsible for the design, manufacture and installation of both its Urbalis 400 communication-based train control (CBTC) solution and the 750V third rail traction electrification and auxiliary substations (ASS) with associated SCADA systems. Alstom will also provide an integrated telecom solution for the line.

“Alstom is pleased to be awarded two more contracts for the city of Kochi after being awarded a contract related to metro train sets in 2014,” said Dominique Pouliquen, senior vice president of Alstom Transport Asia-Pacific. “These are the first contracts awarded to Alstom in India for telecom and electrification as well as for our CBTC-based signaling solution.”

“Through our complete range of systems, Alstom is well positioned to support metro project developments across India. Our solutions are not only advanced but are equally competitive and innovative,” added Pouliquen.

Alstom will begin implementing the projects in early 2016 with commercial service expected to begin in March of that year.

Engineering for the project will be led by Alstom’s site in Bangalore, India, and equipment will be supplied by the company’s Villeurbanne, France, and Bologna, Italy, sites.

GATX Reports Increased Net Income

January 28th, 2015

The railcar leasing company GATX Corporation has reported increases in net income for both the 2014 fourth quarter and for the full year of 2014.

The 2014 fourth quarter net income was reported at $58.5 million or $1.30 per diluted share. The 2013 fourth quarter net income was $53.3 million or $1.14 per diluted share.

Net income for the full year 2014 was $205 million or $4.48 per diluted share, compared to the full year 2013 net income of $169.3 million or $3.59 per diluted share, which included benefits from Tax Adjustments and Other Items of $4.5 million or $.09 per diluted share.

“In 2014, North American tank car demand remained near record levels and freight car demand improved materially as the year progressed. We capitalized on this environment by continuing to lock in attractive lease rates while also lengthening lease terms,” said Brian A. Kenney, president and CEO of GATX. “For the full year 2014, this led to GATX’s Lease Price Index (“LPI”) experiencing a positive 38.8 percent renewal rate change and an average renewal term of 66 months. Fleet utilization exceeded 99 percent at the end of the year, and our renewal success rate was more than 85 percent.”

“This operating performance enabled us to continue to build our high-quality, committed cash flow. At the end of 2014, Rail North America’s committed cash flows were $3.6 billion, up nearly $400 million from the prior year,” added Kenney.

“Despite increasingly high railcar values, we executed on a number of attractive opportunities to grow the North American fleet. We invested more than $800 million in North America in 2014, a record level, and further diversified our position across a variety of end markets with the acquisition of 18,500 boxcars,” said Kenney. “We also entered into a new four-year supply agreement that begins in 2016, adding to our ability to meet our customers’ railcar needs in the future.”

Rail North America reported profit of $83.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to $75.2 million in the 2013 fourth quarter. The increase in profit was driven by increased lease revenue resulting from higher lease rates and contributions from the recently acquired boxcar fleet, partially offset by lower asset remarketing income.

Rail North America’s full year profit for 2014 was $321 million, compared to $231.6 million in 2013. The increase in profit was due to higher lease revenue, contributions from the recently acquired boxcar fleet, and lower financing costs, partially offset by increased maintenance expense, due in part to compliance work.

At December 31, 2014, Rail North America’s wholly owned fleet comprised more than 126,000 cars, including approximately 19,000 boxcars. Excluding the boxcar fleet, fleet utilization was 99.2 percent, up from 98.8 percent at the end of the prior quarter and 98.5 percent at 2013 year end.

Rail North America’s investment volume in 2014 was more than $800 million, including the acquisition of approximately 18,500 boxcars for $340 million.

“In 2015, we expect Rail North America’s segment profit to increase, primarily driven by higher lease revenue as we continue to renew expiring leases at higher lease rates across many car types,” continued Kenney. “We also expect modest improvement in Rail International’s segment profit in 2015. ASC anticipates stable customer demand and a more normal start to the shipping season in the coming year, resulting in improved segment profit in 2015. Within Portfolio Management, we anticipate another solid year from the RRPF affiliates and the inland marine barges.”

Rail International’s segment profit in the 2014 fourth quarter was $18.9 million, compared to $19.6 million for the 2013 fourth quarter. The decrease was due to lower lease revenues and increased maintenance costs at GATX Rail Europe (“GRE”). While more railcars were on lease during the quarter, the lower euro to US dollar exchange rate negatively affected lease revenues.

Rail International reported segment profit of $78.7 million in 2014, compared to $97.4 million in 2013. The 2013 full-year results include the pre-tax benefit from Other Items of $17 million. The decline in profit was due to income loss from the 2013 third quarter sale of GATX’s interest in a joint venture. GATX Rail Europe’s fleet consisted of approximately 22,000 cars at the end of 2014. Utilization was 95.9 percent, compared to 95.1 percent at the end of the third quarter and 96.6 percent at 2013 year end.

Investment volume in 2014 at Rail International was more than $160 million, primarily for new tank cars in Europe.

“GATX Rail Europe invested more than $150 million in new railcars as we continue to work with customers to replace older, less efficient railcars in their fleets,” stated Kenney.

“We are optimistic about the year ahead,” continued Kenney. “We will continue to benefit from the diversity of our fleet, the rate and term structure of our North American lease portfolio, the strength of our committed cash flows, and the attractive investments made in recent years. We expect 2015 earnings per diluted share to be in the range of $5.15 to $5.35, which would be another record year for GATX.”

“Regulations for tank cars in flammable liquid service should be finalized in the coming months in both the United States and Canada. We have not incorporated any related regulatory compliance costs into our earnings estimate, as we cannot predict the potential costs or timing of pending regulatory changes,” Kenney concluded.

UP Railroad Employees Achieve Record Safety Performance

January 28th, 2015

In 2014, Union Pacific Railroad’s annual employee safety performance was the best in company history, with a 0.98 reportable injury rate, an 11 percent reduction from the 2013 reportable rate of 1.10. The 2014 rate surpassed the previous record, established in 2012, and demonstrates a commitment to reducing injuries and progressing toward the company’s commitment to zero injuries.

A company’s reportable injury rate is the total number of injuries reportable to the Federal Railroad Administration per 200,000 worker hours, which is equivalent to 100 employees working a full year.

“The keys to our improvements in employee safety are threefold: a commitment to risk reduction through technology, process improvement and capital investments; all employees embracing our “Courage to Care” pledge to look out for one another; and our well-established, employee-led Total Safety Culture initiative,” said Bob Grimaila, UP vice president  of safety, security and environment.

“Together, these activities engage employees to help keep safety top of mind for seasoned employees and prepare newer employees to be safe in the railroad work environment,” added Grimaila.

CP Names Marsh SVP Sales & Marketing

January 28th, 2015

Canadian Pacific (CP) has appointed Timothy (Tim) E. Marsh senior vice president sales and marketing, effective February 1, 2015. Marsh will be responsible for enhancing existing revenues, winning new business, and improving the quality of the book of business. In addition, his duties will include diversifying the revenue base by creating new products and services as well as identifying opportunities for new, aligned lines of business.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to join a Canadian icon such as CP, which is in the midst of a remarkable transformation,” said Marsh. “CP’s focus on the customer, service and its own people makes it a company that attracts the best talent, and I am humbled to join such an ambitious and capable team.”

Marsh joins CP with 25 years of sales and marketing experience in the international shipping industry. Most recently, he was executive vice president North America Trade Division at COSCO, where he was employed since 2002 when he joined the company as general manager national sales.

He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Le Moyne University in Syracuse, N.Y., and an M.B.A. in Marketing from the University of Phoenix.

“Finding the right person to lead CP’s sales and marketing team is integral as we look to position ourselves for long-term growth,” said Keith Creel, CP’s president and chief operating officer. “Our team has built a strong foundation for the future, and with Tim leading the charge, we expect to provide innovative service to our customers, uncover new opportunities, diversify the business and achieve our goals.”

Slight Drop in U.S. Weekly Rail Traffic Reported

January 28th, 2015

The Association of American Railroads (AAR) has reported a slight decrease of 1 percent in total combined U.S. weekly rail traffic for the week ending January 17, 2015, when compared to the same week in 2014. Carloads and intermodal units totaled 551,856.

U.S. carloads, with a total of 290,963 for the week, increased 0.3 percent compared to the same week last year. U.S. intermodal volume declined by 2.4 percent for the week, with a total of 260,893 units reported.

Five of the 10 carload commodity groups that are tracked by AAR posted increases compared with the same week in 2014. Grain had the highest increase at 18.2 percent, with 25,062 carloads, followed by chemicals, which increased 4.6 percent, with 30,947 carloads. Nonmetallic minerals had the largest decrease in the commodity groups, with 31,124 carloads, down 4.4 percent.

U.S. railroads reported a 1.8 percent increase in total combined traffic for the first 2 weeks of 2015 when compared to the same period in 2014, with a total volume of 1,069,376 carloads and intermodal units. For the first 2 weeks of 2015, U.S. carloads increased 3.7 percent, with a total of 567,536 carloads, and U.S. intermodal volume dropped by 0.3 percent, with a total of 501,840 units.

Total Canadian rail traffic for the week ending January 17, 2015, totaled 138,050 carloads and intermodal units, an increase of 4.7 percent compared to the same week last year. Canadian railroads reported an increase of 2.9 percent in carloads and an increase of 7.4 percent in intermodal units compared to 2014. Weekly 2015 totals were 79,206 carloads and 58,844 intermodal units.

For the first 2 weeks of 2015, Canadian railroads reported a cumulative volume of 268,917 carloads and intermodal units, up 8.8 percent from the same point last year. Carloads for the two weeks totaled 153,948, an increase of 6.9 percent over the same two weeks in 2014, and intermodal units, up 11.5 percent from last year, totaled 114,969.

For the week ending January 17, 2015, Mexican railroads reported total volume of 27,830 carloads, an increase of 4.5 percent over the same week in 2014. Carloads for the week totaled 16,595, a 4.6 percent increase compared to last year, and intermodal units saw a 4.3 percent increase, with 11,235 units reported.

For the first 2 weeks of 2015, cumulative volume on Mexican railroads increased 0.7 percent when compared to the same time period in 2014, with 52,038 carloads and intermodal units. Carloads were up by 1.4 percent with a total of 31,324 and intermodal units were down by 0.3 percent, with 20,714 units reported.

On the 13 reporting U.S., Canadian and Mexican railroads, combined North American rail volume for the first two weeks of 2015 was 1,390,331 carloads and intermodal units, up 3 percent.


Metro-North Continues Safety and Track Improvements

January 28th, 2015

Joseph Giulietti, president of New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) Metro-North Railroad, recently announced that major safety initiatives and aggressive track improvements will continue into 2015.

Speaking to the Metro-North Committee of the MTA Board, Giulietti stated that the implemented and ongoing safety initiatives and track maintenance are increasing the reliability of Metro-North. “It is critical that we bring our infrastructure to a state of good repair and that we continue to focus each and every employee on the importance of safety as our core value,” said Giulietti.

Giulietti also said that on-time performance goals in 2015 are set for 93 percent for trains operating in the AM and PM peaks and 92 percent for off-peak trains when most track work is performed. Metro-North achieved an overall on-time performance of 91.5 percent in 2014.

Metro-North also set a goal for equipment reliability, known as mean distance between failure, of 185,000 miles, an increase from the 2014 goal of 160,000 miles.

The railroad will also see improvements when the last of the 405 M-8 cars are placed into service on the New Haven Line in spring 2015.

Achievements in improved safety include the installation of alerters on the entire fleet to ensure that train engineers remain responsive, the launch a pilot program to identify key employees who may have sleep apnea, and the award of a contract for the purchase of inward- and outward-facing cameras onboard all trains in the fleet.

In 2015, Metro-North will have maintenance of way crews that will continue to clean or replace “foul ballast” around tracks. The railroad will also create a gang that focuses on drainage improvements to avoid standing water damaging tracks, and a gang to replace ties in areas that are difficult to work in, such as interlockings and adjacent to station platforms.

Also slated for 2015 is the installation of eight miles of continuous welded rail, replacement of eight grade crossings in Connecticut and installation of fiberglass brackets and channels to support new aluminum third rail that will be installed in targeted locations.

“The progress that has been made is due to the hard work and dedication of the workers of Metro-North and I am proud of them,” stated Giulietti, who was appointed president of Metro North on February 10, 2014.

All Aboard Florida Selects Contractor for Station Construction

January 27th, 2015

All Aboard Florida, the passenger rail project that will connect Miami to Orlando, has selected Moss & Associates as the general contractor to build the Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations. The Fort Lauderdale-based company is expected to begin construction at the end of the first quarter of 2015.

“This announcement is another step forward as All Aboard Florida moves into the construction and implementation phase,” said P. Michael Reininger, All Aboard Florida president. “Moss & Associates has a world-class reputation and is the right firm to help us deliver our Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach stations.”

“As a South Florida-based company, with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, among others, we are very excited to be a part of the All Aboard Florida team and proud to be building two stations in the region,” said Bob Moss, chairman and CEO of Moss & Associates. “The Moss team has great expertise in building public venues and we look forward to bringing that experience to this innovative transportation project. Upon completion, All Aboard Florida will provide a unique solution to South Florida’s transportation challenges as the region continues to grow.”

The 60,000 square foot Fort Lauderdale station and platform will include parking facilities and a multi-story lobby spanning an elevated passenger lounge area. The station will feature connections to the Sun Trolley, Broward County Transit system, future Wave Streetcar and planned Tri-Rail station.

The West Palm Beach station will be located on Quadrille Boulevard, between Datura and Evernia Streets. The station will be equal in size to the Fort Lauderdale station.

All Aboard Florida is expected to create $6.4 billion in direct economic impact to Florida’s economy over the next eight years; $653 million in federal, state, and local government tax revenue through 2021; more than 10,000 jobs on average per year through rail line construction; and more than 5,000 jobs on average per year on completion of the rail line through 2021.

Watco to Purchase 31 Kinder Morgan Terminals

January 27th, 2015

Watco Companies, LLC (Watco) has reached a definitive agreement with Kinder Morgan Terminals (KMT) for the purchase of 31 terminal operations in the United States. Consideration for the terminals is provided through an equity interest exchange. Closing will occur in multiple phases starting in the 2015 first quarter.

The terminals are located throughout the United States and will be operated by Watco Terminal and Port Services. Included in the agreement are 14 rail to truck transload and switching facilities, 13 bulk and break-bulk operations on inland waterways, 3 deepwater stevedoring sites and 1 inland river tank farm.

Watco President Rick Baden said, “The Watco Team is excited to expand our outstanding relationship with KMT and to position operations in a manner that best benefits our mutual customers. This is an expansion of Watco services that will bring several great connections between terminals, ports, and railroads. We think this has strong growth opportunities for each of these locations, their customers, and the communities they serve.”

“We see this portfolio of transload, rail switching, and terminal facilities as a tremendous growth opportunity for Watco,” said Dan Smith, Watco chief operating officer. “We have restructured our operations and marketing efforts, in anticipation of the transaction, to immediately begin work on expanding our service offerings to the customer base of these facilities and see many opportunities to grow with our customers at these locations.”

Watco is currently transitioning the terminal employees to Watco team members to ensure uninterrupted service to customers.

Chicago Transit Authority Retires 2400-Series Rail Cars

January 27th, 2015

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) President Forrest Claypool continue their plan to update the city’s rail system with last week’s retirement of the final eight 2400-series rail cars, which entered service nearly 40 years ago.

The CTA currently has more than 600 of the newest 5000-series rail cars deployed on the Red, Purple, Yellow, Pink and Green Lines. A total of 714 of these cars are expected to be in service on Chicago lines by the end of 2015.

In October of 2014, the CTA solicited bids for 400 of the new 7000-series rail cars, which are expected to be in service in 2018. The cars will be financed through federal and local funds.

Two of the 2400-series rail cars, which are known for their distinctive red-white-and-blue markings, are on display at the Ilinois Railway Museum while several of the restored cars will become part of CTA’s historic rail car fleet. The 2400′s were the only heavy rail rapid transit cars that were manufactured by Boeing.