Tuesday, February 12, 2013

US Investment in Intermodal Rail Freight Infrastructure Continues

Lobby Group for the Industry Extols the Virtues of Track Transported Cargo
Shipping News Feature

US – The Association of American Railroads (AAR) recently announced the nation’s major freight railroads plan to invest an estimated $24.5 billion in 2013 to build, maintain and upgrade America’s rail network to ensure freight railroads can continue to develop more intermodality and deliver for the nation’s economy. This investment includes $13 billion in projected capital expenditures, or which go toward upgrading or enhancing rail network capacity in the year ahead. AAR President and CEO Edward R. Hamberger said:

“While most other transportation modes rely on government funds, America’s freight railroads operate on infrastructure they own, maintain and upgrade to serve their customers and power our economy. This year, freight railroads plan to continue to focus on investments that maintain and enhance our physical infrastructure and safety systems, including cutting edge technology that ensures we are ready to deliver for the future.”

With hundreds of transportation infrastructure projects underway nationwide, railroads are investing in projects such as intermodal terminals that facilitate truck to train freight transport; new track; bridges and tunnels; modernised safety equipment; new locomotives and rail cars, and other components that ensure the US freight rail network remains the most reliable and efficient in the world. I

n recent years, railroads have been spending roughly 17% of their annual revenue on capital expenditures, compared with the average US manufacturer that spends roughly 3% of revenue on capital expenditures.

The freight railroads also estimate they will hire more than 11,000 employees this year, primarily in response to retirements and attrition for positions that can be found across the US. With approximately 22% of the industry’s workforce eligible to retire in the next five years, railroads are dedicated to recruiting highly skilled people interested in making railroading a career. In the first five months of the year, railroads are participating in more than 70 career fairs across the country. Hamberger continued:

“We are looking for employees who want a true potential life-long career and will want to help make the railroads safer and more reliable than they have ever been. The success of our industry, from our importance to the economy to our continually improving safety record, can be attributed to the hard working men and women who make their careers with the railroads.”

Rail employee compensation, including benefits, averages roughly $107,000 per year, with jobs ranging from engineers and dispatchers, to law enforcement, to information technology and industrial development.