The Shortline Railroad Operation industry's ties to the general economy were highlighted over the past five years, as the industry's fortunes rose along with major downstream markets. However, this does not mean that the industry has not undergone hardships. With the recent collapse of crude oil prices, and consequently diesel fuel prices, revenue from surcharges has fallen and weak signals from the industrial production index have only compounded these losses. Over the next five years, the industry will benefit from a continued rise in industrial production and international trade volumes. Moreover, the industry is projected to achieve slightly higher profitability, as capital expenditures made over the past five years bear fruit.
Industry operators fall into two categories: local railroads and switching and terminal railroads. Local railroads are line-haul railroads that generate less than $34.7 million in operating revenue. Switching & Terminal railroads are those jointly owned by two parties to facilitate the transferring of cars between railroads. By conventional standards, all Class III railroads are called shortline railroad operators while Class II operators are referred to as regional railroads.
This report covers the scope, size, disposition and growth of the industry including the key sensitivities and success factors. Also included are five year industry forecasts, growth rates and an analysis of the industry key players and their market shares.