Thursday, April 14, 2011
[IWS] USITC: ROLLING STOCK: LOCOMOTIVES AND RAIL CARS [March 2011]
IWS Documented News Service
Institute for Workplace Studies----------------- Professor Samuel B. Bacharach
School of Industrial & Labor Relations-------- Director, Institute for Workplace Studies
16 East 34th Street, 4th floor---------------------- Stuart Basefsky
New York, NY 10016 -------------------------------Director, IWS News Bureau
United States International Trade Commission (USITC)
Office of Industries, Pulbication ITS-08
Industry & Trade Summary
Rolling Stock: Locomotives and Rail Cars [March 2011]
[full-text, 128 pages]
This report addresses trade and industry conditions for railway rolling stock primarily for
the period 2004 through 2009, and includes data for 2010 where available.
• The railway rolling stock industry consists principally of manufacturers producing
locomotives, rail cars, electric multiple units, parts for these vehicles, and multimodal
• There are seven principal locomotive manufacturers and five major rail car (“car”)
manufacturers in the United States. While the locomotive manufacturers focus on
market niches, car manufacturers typically supply a range of cars.
• During 2004–09, the primary market for locomotives was freight railroads, while the
primary markets for cars were individual rail car lessors, shipping companies that
moved their goods by rail, and freight railroads. The primary market for parts were
original equipment manufacturers and enterprises that routinely rebuild railway
• U.S. railroads moved 1.7 billion tons of freight over 169,082 miles of track in the
United States during 2009.
• U.S. demand to move freight by rail increased during 2004–08, driving up the
demand for railway rolling stock. In particular, freight from Asia landing on the U.S.
West Coast grew significantly, spurring the demand for both road and rail
• The U.S. locomotive fleet grew during the period, from 20,774 to 24,443 dieselelectric
locomotives in service in 2009, while the freight car fleet remained relatively
static at 1.4 million cars in service. In 2009, shipments of U.S. railway rolling stock
totaled $11.0 billion, with $8.9 billion (80.9 percent) sold to the domestic market.
During this period, imports as a share of U.S. consumption declined, from
19.1 percent to 12.4 percent. The top three nations supplying U.S. imports were
Canada, China, and Japan in 2009, while the top three markets for U.S. exports of all
railway rolling stock products were Canada, China, and Australia.
• The United States has had a trade surplus in railway rolling stock since 2004. The
surplus peaked at $1.1 billion in 2008, an increase of $764 million (207.6 percent)
over 2004, fell to $888 million in 2009, and then improved to $1 billion in 2010.
• U.S. producers of railway rolling stock compete in foreign markets principally on the
basis of technology. Asian and eastern European companies are increasingly
interested in partnering with certain U.S. manufacturers. U.S. firms face competitive
obstacles in countries with state-run manufacturers.
• During 2004–08, global exports of diesel-electric locomotives more than doubled,
before falling to pre-2001 levels in 2009. Principal exporting nations were the United
States ($403.8 million), Canada ($182.1 million), Spain ($133.4 million), Ukraine
($51.1 million), and China ($42.4 million).1 Of this group, only Spain’s exports grew
• The United States was in the top five nations exporting rail cars during 2004–07. In
2008, China, not a historically major supplier of rail cars, surged past the United
States into the ranks of the top five exporting countries, as its rail car exports grew by
196.5 percent (or by $176.8 million) over 2007. China maintained its lead over the
United States in rail car exports in 2009.
• Current trends in the U.S. railway rolling stock industry include research into kinetic
energy regeneration as well as development of freight cars capable of carrying larger
loads and diesel-electric locomotives that produce fewer air pollutants.
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Institute for Workplace Studies
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