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GSCW chat: How the rails might benefit from growing industrial production

‘We’re beginning to see what we believe to be indicators in the supply chain that indicate growth is definitely here on the horizon’

FreightWaves' Mike Baudendistel (left) and Harris Ligon (right) talk industrial production and rail data. (Photo: FreightWaves)

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: What rail and truckload data reveal about industrial supply chains.

DETAILS: Industrial production is forecast to grow in the coming years, which will likely lead to higher rail carload volume. It could also lead to congestion and equipment availability issues. In this fireside chat, Harris Ligon, CEO and co-founder of a stealth transportation technology startup, and Mike Baudendistel, a FreightWaves market expert, discuss the outlook for industrial freight on the rails and the associated operational challenges.

BIO: Ligon’s startup is digitizing a critical segment of the supply chain. Prior to his current venture, he worked for 15 years in surface transportation at Uber Freight, Norfolk Southern and BNSF Railway.


“I think for us the industrial sector continues to be a bright spot in the market, and we’re beginning to see what we believe to be indicators in the supply chain that indicate growth is definitely here on the horizon and it is here to stay.”

“I honestly believe that there is a new renaissance coming. Speaking of the rail industry particularly, I think there is a trend, especially at the executive leadership levels, where the leaders in the space, the folks that are driving the real change and delivering real value to their customers in the rail space, have been very customer-centric, and I think we will continue to see the needle move in that direction.”

“One of the leading indicators that you probably saw as well is, back in Q4, demand for new railcars coming out of Trinity [Industries] or Greenbrier or some other provider is booming. For people who pony up and put those kind of investments on railcars, which you well know are significant capital expenditures, that tells me there’s going to be a boom for raw materials, typically products that are going to be put into manufactured goods. And I think that’s why I’m bullish on the overall American economy, because there’s still a lot of room to run in the market and we’re really excited about that.”

“We’re definitely seeing many customers involved in the rail space beginning to take out multiple leases for multiple different types of equipment, to have direct access to move their materials in a closed-loop fashion.” 

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Joanna Marsh

Joanna is a Washington, DC-based writer covering the freight railroad industry. She has worked for Argus Media as a contributing reporter for Argus Rail Business and as a market reporter for Argus Coal Daily.