CIT Rail has ordered 3,500 tank and covered hopper railcars, as the railcar lessor sees more demand for equipment tied to domestic energy and plastic resin production.
The company said the railcars ordered from multiple manufacturers will be delivered throughout this year and 2013. The tank cars are used to transport products connected with oil and natural gas drilling, while covered hoppers are used in the expanding plastic resin industry, which has benefited from low natural gas prices.
The most recent wave of purchases brings CIT's investment in tank cars and covered hoppers to nearly $1.5 billion since 2011. CIT Rail leases more than 100,000 railcars and 450 locomotives to about 500 customers.
Although the rail industry as a whole has been able to balance demand with capacity, shippers have struggled to secure enough tank cars. There was a slight drop in demand as natural gas production slowed, but recent CIT orders suggest demand is expected to bounce back.