In the latest sign that the freight recovery is hardening, railcar manufacturer Greenbrier Companies announced a second large round of recent orders for 3,000 cars worth $200 million, led as before by surging demand for intermodal platforms.
That follows an Aug. 25 announcement that Greenbrier had orders to build 1,000 new intermodal well platforms for 53-foot domestic containers, modify 1,100 existing ones by expanding them to haul 53-footers and build 700 hopper cars. It valued that group of orders at $130 million.
The company also said it expects to report a net loss before a special accounting item for the quarter ending Aug. 31, on revenue of about $185 million, but it will capture special non-cash earnings from the release of liability for the 2008 closure of its TrentonWorks subsidiary.
Greenbrier did not specify the size of the latest well cars that customers are ordering. However, up to now its officials and others in the industry have said the need for 53-foot wells has been rising, while the supply of 40-foot platforms for marine boxes has been sufficient and some remained in storage.
The new orders are for 2,250 double-stack intermodal platforms, 500 covered hopper cars and 250 railcars of various types for the European market. Some are for delivery this year and others for 2011.
William A. Furman, president and CEO, said the orders over the last two months -- for over 4,700 new railcars plus revamping 1,100 older ones, and a combined value around $330 million - "are expected to have a meaningful positive impact on our financial results in 2011 and reinforce our view that a recovery is under way in the overall North American new railcar market."
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