I have observed a couple of interesting things in the way of train movements in the last couple of weeks.
First, there have been movements of lease locomotives coming out of storage and moving north. Not a great number, but 8 locomotives at a time is significant.
Also, when I see 10 hopper cars carrying coke in the same train, that is a lot. I saw that twice in the last 2 weeks. Maybe there is hope for the steel industry yet.
The engines were part of the many stored in Waycross, they were dead in tow and went out this morning towards Cincinnati.
The coke would have been coming from the Birmingham area and could have been heading to anywheres in the Carolinas to Florida. They were not blocked together but were in groups of 3 to 5 cars.
Plus the seaport of Lazaro Cardenas, where parts can come in and cars can be exported. Still, not that impressed, overall.
Important questions - how much is coming through the canal now that is off-loaded at Port Tampa? How much longer is it going to take to load and unload because of the larger ship?
This seems to answer the question that has been in the back of my head. Is there enough consistent rainfall to allow the use of the much larger locks? Only time will tell really tell.
There is still the Panama Railroad, owned by the Kansas City Southern - Off -load containers on one coast and reload on the other coast. Look it up in Wikipedia.
I gave my snowblower away 30 years ago and moved where the sun shines year round, first Kentucky, now Georgia.
If you follow the commodities market, you know that their is a surplus of grain in this country - in the midwest. Today's paper says that the southeast poultry and livestock producers are importing corn from Brazil and Argentina.
Why? Because it cost 35 to 50 cents a bushel to bring in corn from South America by the boatload and it costs 80 cents to $1.50 a bushel to bring it in by railcar from the midwest. It sounds like Wilmington, NC is now a major point of entry.
Cool down, you are overheating. I can get a better dividend return on tax free municipal bonds (VTEB), But I am hoping for growth to pass on to my children, grandchildren and my great grandchild that will be arriving before Christmas.
Right now containers are coming into Savannah and hauled by rail over 2 short lines to Cordele, GA and then by truck to Pensacola. Make sense? To somebody it does.
I found this interesting paper on a macro view of changes in shipments. Google "mitchell impact of expansion of the Panama Canal". There are some holes in his basic thesis, but it gives some hard facts on what Savannah has to do handle more containers.
Could it be because the 400 locos in storage are long term lease units?
The "Band-aid" units: Could it be that the EPA has in effect outlawed the making of 2,000 and 3,000 HP units because there are no low pollution engine designs that will meet the standards?
You sure that you work for the railroad?
Look at Southern Company (SO) or AT&T (T) if you need the income. Both are paying about 5% dividend, but they do not have as much growth potential,
I am seeing a lot of lumber, sheet rock, plywood, and Portland cement heading south. Also seeing framing lumber from south Georgia headed north.
Coal is still used to generate about 30% of the electricity. There is a power plant near here on the NS is still getting a lot of coal with BNSF motive power.