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Kansas City Southern’s Profit, Revenue Rises

October 21st, 2013

Kansas City Southern reported its net income in the third quarter of 2013 was $119.0 million, jumped 31.2 percent year-over-year from $90.7 million.

Revenue in the third quarter was a record $621.6 million, increasing 7.7 percent from $577.4 million in the same period in 2012. Overall, carload volume was 3 percent higher than in the third quarter of 2012.

“Kansas City Southern achieved record revenues and carloads as a result of solid, sustainable growth opportunities and strong execution by our team,” said David L. Starling, president and CEO of KCS, in a written statement. “This performance demonstrates KCS’s ability to absorb the impacts of a challenging economic environment while consistently delivering strong top-line and bottom-line results.”

Year-over-year quarterly revenue growth was led by a 17 percent year-over-year increase in intermodal. Revenue from the industrial and consumer, agriculture and minerals and automotive divisions rose by 7 percent. Energy improved by 6 percent and chemicals and petroleum rose by 3 percent.

“The fact that KCS delivered revenue growth in all of its business units speaks to the strength and diversity of this franchise,” Starling said.

The railroad’s operating ratio in the third quarter of this year improved by 90 basis points to 67.8 percent. The continued favorable year-over-year compression of the operating ratio was driven by a combination of increased pricing, minimal disruptions due to weather and operational improvements, according to Stifel Transportation & Logistics Research Group. However, the research institute noted that fuel price increases in Mexico represent a headwind going forward.

From January through September, profit was $238.9 million, falling 16.7 percent from $286.9 million in the same period last year. However, revenue was $1.75 billion from January to September, up from $1.67 billion.

“Looking ahead, we expect a strong end to the year benefited by growth in export grain shipments,” Starling concluded. “We also look forward to long-term improvement in our operating ratio as we move forward with our plan to increase the percentage of equipment we own versus lease.”

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RailSync Launches Mobile Interface for Transportation Management Software for Short Lines

October 17th, 2013

RailSync has launched Mobile Command, a free mobile means of interacting with the company’s transportation management software for short line railroads.

Through the use of an IOS or Android tablet that interfaces with RailSync Command, the product synchronizes communications between train crews, office staff and customers. Mobile Command will help railroads that want to improve responsiveness and real-time reporting and save on operation costs, according to RailSync, a subsidiary of ShipXpress.

“We are very excited about the launch of Mobile Command,” said Charith Perera, CEO of ShipXpress, in a written statement. “It puts timely and critical information in front of the train crew, with a work order telling them exactly which cars to pull or place at each location.”

“Additional details such as hazmat information or instructions are easily accessible,” Perera continued. “We can customize the [user interface] to any device that our customers choose.”

“Mobile Command has been very helpful for us – it is user friendly and easy to learn,” added Melissa Smith, chief dispatcher of Arkansas & Missouri Railroad. “Not only has it vastly improved communication between train crews and office personnel, but greatly enhanced customer service and reporting, as everything is done in real-time.”

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FECI Names Bewley as CFO of All Aboard Florida

October 17th, 2013

Florida East Coast Industries has hired Jason Bewley as CFO of All Aboard Florida.

In the role, Bewley will be responsible for all financial aspects of operations and development for FECI’s intercity passenger rail project. His appointment is “vital” as the company focuses on finalizing capital structure and developing its construction and operational financial processes, FECI said.

“The addition of Jason Bewley as Chief Financial Officer is another major step forward as we continue building All Aboard Florida’s leadership team,” said Vincent Signorello, FECI’s president and CEO, in a written statement. “As the project moves into the construction and operation phases, Jason will provide financial leadership to the nation’s first privately funded and operated passenger rail service.”

“Jason brings more than 20 years of international experience working in the passenger transportation, travel and tourism industries,” added Don Robinson, All Aboard Florida’s president and chief operating officer.

Previously, Bewley was vice president of corporate finance for World Fuel Services, senior director of finance and investor relations for AirTran Airways and a member of the finance management team at Universal Orlando.

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Union Pacific Posts Best-Ever Quarterly Operating Ratio

October 17th, 2013

Union Pacific today reported its net income in the third quarter of 2013 was $1.15 billion, or $2.48 per diluted share, compared with $1.04 billion, or $2.19 per diluted share, in the same period last year.

Quarterly revenue rose 4 percent year-over-year to $5.57 billion, from $5.34 billion. Freight revenue increased 5 percent, mainly driven by core pricing gains, UP said.

Business volumes in the third quarter, as measured by total revenue carloads, were flat versus 2012. Volume growth from industrial products, automotive and chemical shipments was offset by declines in coal, agricultural products and intermodal shipments.

UP’s operating ratio of 64.8 percent was a best-ever quarterly record, 1.8 points better than the third quarter of 2012 and 0.9 points better than the previous quarterly record set in the second quarter of 2013.

“Union Pacific achieved all-time record financial results this quarter,” said Jack Koraleski, CEO of the Class I railroad, in a written statement. “Despite the challenges of lower coal and grain volumes, in addition to disruptions caused by the Colorado flooding, we managed our network efficiently and continued to benefit from the strength of our diverse franchise.”

Lost revenue and increased costs from the flooding in Colorado negatively affected operating income by about $10 million.

Year-to-date, UP’s profit was $3.21 billion, up 11 percent year-over-year, and revenue was $16.33 billion, up 4 percent.

“As we move through the fourth quarter, we continue to monitor the economic landscape,” Koraleski said. “Supported by our diverse franchise, we remain agile and well positioned for economic recovery.”

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L.B. Foster Makes Sales Executive Appointments

October 16th, 2013

L.B. Foster Co. has made several additions to the Pittsburgh-based company’s global sales and product management teams.

William Treacy has joined L.B. Foster as general manager, transit products, and will be located at the company’s Suwanee, Ga.,  facility, reporting to Greg Lippard, vice president of rail products and sales. Prior to joining L.B. Foster, he most recently served as president of Tuthill Vacuum & Blower Systems. Before that,  he was a general manager at Crane Co., and general manager, vice president of operations development and director of business planning and development at Parker Hannifin.

Kyley Holmstrom has joined L.B. Foster as regional Class I sales manager in Omaha, Neb., and reports to Bill Zimmer, director, Class I rail sales. He is responsible for all company sales to Union Pacific Railroad, the company he worked for before joining L.B. Foster. At UP, he initially worked in maintenance of way, then held positions of increasing responsibility as engineer technician, project coordinator, track planning engineer and senior manager – strategic sourcing.

Also reporting to Zimmer is Stacy Borkofsky. She recently joined the company as regional Class I sales manager based in Calgary. She is responsible for all company sales to both Canadian Pacific Railway and Canadian National.  Prior to joining L.B. Foster, she worked for Canadian Pacific.  A third-generation railroader, she began at CP in 1998 and held positions as dispatcher, RTC/crew dispatcher, OCS car fleet coordinator, demand analyst – engineering services, analyst track block and finally, specialist sourcing – trackwork.

Tim Galownia joined L.B. Foster as an inside sales representative in the Pittsburgh office reporting to Michelle Chapin, director of inside rail sales. Prior to joining L.B. Foster, he worked in inside sales and day-to-day operations in the industrial/technical market segment.

Robin Davidson, meanwhile, has joined L.B. Foster as head of sales, Rail Technologies UK Ltd., at the company’s location in Sheffield, UK.  In this role, Davidson will report to Peter Jones, general manager, Rail Technologies UK Ltd., and is responsible for all company sales in the EMEA region.  Davidson has extensive sales experience, recently as head of sales for Virgin Media, head of sales for 21st Century Finance and UK sales manager for Rocketfish Ltd. 


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CSX’s Profit Rose in Third Quarter

October 16th, 2013

CSX reported its net income in the third quarter of 2013 was $463 million, or 46 cents per share, compared with $455 million, or 44 cents per share, in the same period last year.

The performance was supported by “strong” operating results and higher revenue that included benefits from customer contract settlements, the Class I railroad said. Quarterly revenue was $3 billion, driven by higher volume and pricing increases in merchandise and intermodal, offsetting declines in coal revenue.

“CSX posted historically high financial results as it continued to effectively manage ongoing challenges in the coal market and leverage growth opportunities in merchandise and intermodal,” said Michael J. Ward, chairman, president and CEO of CSX, in a written statement. “The third quarter performance is an ongoing reflection of the company’s ability to capitalize on the modest improvement in the economy with a relentless focus on customer service and asset efficiency.”

CSX said it now expects full-year 2013 earnings per share to be slightly up from 2012 levels. The company also mentioned that it remains on target to achieve its goal of sustaining a high-60s operating ratio by 2015, while remaining focused on attaining a mid-60s operating ratio over the longer term.

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Amtrak Sets Ridership Records in FY2012

October 15th, 2013

Amtrak carried more than 31.2 million passengers in fiscal year 2012, ending Sept. 30, 2013, the highest annual ridership total in the passenger rail service’s history and a 3.5 percent increase year-over-year.

Notably, annual ridership on the Northeast Corridor was up 4.8 percent compared with the previous year, reaching a record 11.4 million passengers. Ridership on state-supported and other short distance routes improved 2.1 percent to a record 15.1 million passengers, and ridership on long-distance services increased 4.7 percent, resulting in their best combined numbers in 19 years. Overall, fiscal year 2012 established new ridership records for 25 of 44 Amtrak services.

In addition, ticket revenue for the year jumped 6.8 percent to an all-time high of $2.02 billion, and Amtrak’s on-time performance increased to 83 percent, compared with 78.1 percent last year, marking its highest level in 12 years.

“People are riding Amtrak trains in record numbers across the country because there is an undeniable demand to travel by rail,” said Joe Boardman, president and CEO, in a written statement. “Ridership will continue to grow because of key investments made by Amtrak and our federal and state partners to improve on-time performance, reliability, capacity and train speeds.”

Boardman noted that ridership numbers for fiscal year 2013 will get an early boost this fall when the extension of Downeaster service to Freeport and Brunswick, Maine, begins Nov. 1, and Amtrak Virginia Northeast Regional service is extended to Norfolk, Va., starting Dec.12.

Since fiscal year 2000, Amtrak ridership has risen 49 percent. Amtrak attributed this long-term ridership growth to improved passenger services such as wi-fi and e-ticketing, high gasoline prices, continued growth in business travel on the Northeast Corridor, the increased appeal and popularity of rail travel, dissatisfaction with congested highways and air travel and effective marketing campaigns.

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Teamsters Strike Looming Against Canadian National

October 15th, 2013

The Teamsters Canada Rail Conference, which represents about 3,300 conductors, trainmen, yardmen and traffic coordinators at Canadian National, is warning of a strike against the Class I railroad, or a possible lockout, later this month.

Contract talks broke down between the two parties on Oct. 7, after truck drivers’ contract expired on July 22. The negotiations are now in an automatic 21-day “cooling off” period.

The Teamsters union said it offered to extend the mediation period, but CN’s management rejected the proposal.

“We’re extremely disappointed by CN’s refusal (to extend the mediation period),” said Roland Hackl, TCRC spokesperson, in a written statement. “The railway uses an old tactic: pointing a gun to its workers’ heads to force them to make concessions.”

However, CN told RailResource that the two sides plan to resume collective bargaining on Oct. 21, with the help of the federally appointed mediators who were part of the first conciliation process.

The union said it did not take issue with wages and the retirement plan in this bargaining round, but talks were stalled because of concessions that the union claimed would require CN employees to work longer hours with less rest time in between trips. The union cited issues with safety, specifically scientific research on fatigue management and the recent Lac-Mégantic derailment, as the main reasons for its rejection of the new contract.

“CN’s managers have to walk the walk and talk the talk; they have to understand that people are not machines and that you should never place profits before people,” Hackl said.

CN’s Mark Hallman, director of communications and public affairs, said company policy does not permit him to discuss any details of the contract talks, but mentioned that the contract would not “in any way compromise the health and safety of TCRC members.” He also noted that CN believes the contract would actually “positively affect the health and safety of employees.”

Hallman also said that CN remains “optimistic” that the talks will be resolved before the strike could occur later this month.

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Hollister Named President, Interim CEO of American Railcar Industries

October 11th, 2013

James Cowan, president and CEO of American Railcar Industries, has resigned to “pursue other interests,” according to the hopper and tank railcar manufacturer.

ARI’s board of directors has named Jeffrey S. Hollister as president and interim CEO. Hollister, who has more than 23 years of experience in operations and financial management, has been with ARI since 2005, serving in various senior financial and operations roles. Most recently, he oversaw the company’s railcar manufacturing group.

“On behalf of the board of directors, I wish to thank Jim for his years of service at ARI and I wish him the best of luck in the future,” said Carl C. Icahn, chairman of the board, in a written statement.

“The board is also looking forward to working with Jeff as president and interim CEO,” Icahn continued. “Jeff has been with the company since the IPO and has proven himself to be a valuable member of the ARI team with the knowledge and experience to lead the company.”

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Work on Florida East Coast Railway’s Port Everglades ICTF Making Progress

October 11th, 2013

FEC's new rail facility at Port Everglades is set for completion in mid-2014.

Florida East Coast Railway has announced that its $53 million, 42.5-acre intermodal container transfer facility at Port Everglades is making progress and is expected to open in mid-2014.

The near-dock facility, located on the Florida port’s property, will be used to transfer domestic and international shipping containers between ship and rail, eliminating the need for trucks to haul containers to and from off-port rail terminals. It will replace FEC’s existing 12-acre Andrews Avenue intermodal yard, which is located two miles from the port in Fort Lauderdale.

Construction on the new ICTF began in July 2011 when the Florida Department of Transportation broke ground for the Eller Drive Overpass, which will elevate Interstate 595/Eller Drive to allow the trains to access the port at ground level. The overpass is expected to be completed by late 2014 at a cost of $42.5 million.

“The Port Everglades ICTF allows us to build 9,000 foot unit trains within the facility without blocking any streets,” said Jim Hertwig, FEC president, in a written statement. “The trains will then go to places such as Atlanta and Charlotte in two days, or Nashville and Memphis in three days.”

Port Everglades contributed the land for the ICTF valued at $19 million. Construction costs are estimated to total $53 million, which will be paid through $18 million in grants from the FDOT’s Strategic Intermodal System program, a $30 million FDOT State Infrastructure Bank loan and $5 million from FEC’s capital plan.

“Our natural trade routes are north-south, where we are seeing tremendous growth in South America and Central America,” said Steven Cernak, Port Everglades’ chief executive and port director. “With the expansion of the Panama Canal, Port Everglades will have the potential to see the north-south trade lanes intersect with the east-west trade routes, so there is great expectation for additional growth in our business which will be facilitated by the ICTF.”

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